Trucking company sues Amtrak, Union Pacific over fatal June 24 crash

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RENO, Nev. — The company that employed a truck driver who drove into the side of an Amtrak train June 24, killing himself and five passengers, is suing Amtrak and track owner Union Pacific, the Reno Gazette-Journal has reported.

John Davis Trucking says the two railroads breached their duties “by allowing trains to accelerate in the approach to the grade crossing and in failing to install, program, and maintain the grade crossing predictor, associated circuitry, and warning device mechanisms so as to provide adequate warning to travelers on Highway 95 of the approach of trains at the crossing.”

John Davis employed Lawrence Valli, a truck driver with a history of traffic violations while driving commercial vehicles. Valli drove his truck into the side of the Emeryville, Calif.-bound California Zephyr as it traversed Union Pacific’s tracks near Ocala, Nev. The wreck occurred in broad daylight with excellent visibility, and the gates were down and activated at the time of the crash. The trucking company faces five lawsuits stemming from the wreck.

“Our position is that John Davis Trucking has acted properly and has done everything right,” said Steve Jaffee, the company’s attorney. “The evidence will demonstrate that this was an issue involving Amtrak and Union Pacific and failures on their part.”

Neither UP nor Amtrak commented for the story.
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