FedEx truck driver dead following crash with Amtrak train near Pleasant Hill
One person is dead following a collision between a FedEx truck and an Amtrak train Tuesday morning at a private railroad crossing near Pleasant Hill, officials said.
The FedEx truck was traveling north and trying to cross the tracks at Smart and Hereford roads around 9:45 a.m. when it failed to yield to the southbound Amtrak train, the Missouri State Highway Patrol tweeted.
The @FedEx truck was attempting to cross the tracks on Hereford Rd and Smart Rd. The driver of the truck failed to yield to a southbound @Amtrak train & was struck by the train. The driver of the truck was fatally injured. The online crash report will be available later today.
— MSHP Troop A (@MSHPTrooperA) February 7, 2023
After the crash, the FedEx driver was declared dead at the scene, said Sgt. Bill Lowe, a spokesman with the highway patrol.
Amtrak said Train 318 was traveling from Kansas City to Chicago when collided with the delivery vehicle. The 29 passengers as well as crew on board were not injured.
The train was annulled at the scene, and the passengers were brought to their final destination on chartered buses.
“These incidents can affect everyone involved—those who are injured or die and their families, our train crews, and our passengers,” an Amtrak spokesman wrote in a statement. “They also serve as critical reminders about the importance of obeying the law and of exercising extreme caution around railroad tracks and crossings.”
At the scene, the tracks remained covered by packages and debris from the truck, with its back half laying several feet ahead of its front.
The intersection is marked only by stop signs and crossbucks — signs with a large X that designate a railway crossing, but no flashing lights or gates to alert drivers and passersby to an oncoming train. Passive crossings like these make up about half of the nation’s 130,000 railroad crossings, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
From 2017 to 2022 alone, an investigation by The Star found that a dozen people died at public crossings in Missouri that were on the state’s waiting list for safety upgrades. The report also found that, while nationwide studies have shown that gates and flashing lights significantly decrease collisions at railroad crossings, many still haven’t implemented them.
The track where the crash occurred is owned and maintained by Union Pacific Railroad. In 1999, there was one other crash at the crossing at Smart and Hereford, according to Federal Railroad Administration records. An Amtrak train with one locomotive and four cars hit a dump truck, resulting in injury to the driver and $25,000 damage to the truck. The view of the crossing was obstructed by vegetation, the crash report said.
Lowe said there’s about a quarter mile of sight distance approaching the crossing, allowing drivers to properly yield.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those involved in this accident,” a FedEx spokesperson wrote in a statement. “Safety is our highest priority, and we are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities at this time.”