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Missouri farmer: Community had been working to improve railroad crossing

Mike Spencer.jpg
Posted at 11:40 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 14:43:25-04

MENDON, Mo. — The railroad crossing where an Amtrak train collided with a dump truck Monday that led to the deaths of three people was an apparent target of improvement for both members of the community and Missouri officials.

The train, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief from Los Angels to Chicago, struck a dump truck shortly after 12:40 p.m. Monday southwest of the rural north-central Missouri town of Mendon.

The collision and subsequent derailment left two people on the train and the occupant of the dump truck dead, and dozens others injured.

RELATED | Passengers react to the moments before, during and after derailment

Shortly after the incident, KSHB 41 News reporter Leslie DelasBour spoke to area farmer Mike Spencer, who said the crossing was due for upgrades.

“We have been working with the railroad on getting this crossing fixed,” Spencer said Monday night. “We wanted them to build up the approach. It has no signal lights or arms on it. The tracks sit at an angle to the road.”

A report issued by the Missouri Department of Transportation in February 2022 identified the crossing of Porche Prairie Avenue and the tracks as the target of a $400,000 upgrade to add gates and signals to the otherwise “uncontrolled” crossing.

Spencer, who said he was working with county and railroad officials, was told it “was going to get fixed.”

“And now today, we’re standing here visiting about what kind of tragedy we experienced today and it’s really sad,” Spencer said.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board has been dispatched to Mendon where they will continue their investigation into the cause of Monday’s derailment.