Rochelle Cook, Kim Holsapple Died In Missouri Amtrak Train Accident
Wrongful Death - June 30, 2022
Rochelle Cook, Kim Holsapple, Sisters From De SoTo, Kansas, Died In Chicago-Bound Amtrak Train Accident After The Train Derailed Following Crash With Dump Truck Near Mendon, Missouri —> GoFundMe Created To Help Victims’ Families
MENDON, MISSOURI (June 30, 2022) – Two sisters identified as Rochelle Cook and Kim Holsapple were killed in a Mendon, Missouri Amtrak train derailment accident.
Chariton County officials are saying that the accident took place around 2:00 p.m. on Monday in rural Missouri as the Amtrak train was headed to Chicago, Illinois. A dump truck was going through a train crossing when it was struck by an Amtrak train carrying Rochelle Cook, Kim Holsapple and several hundred other passengers. The collision took place not long after the train left Kansas City.
The force of the impact caused the Chicago, Illinois-bound Amtrak train to derail and flip onto its side. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help all of the victims.
The driver of the dump truck and an 82-year-old Amtrak passenger both died due to the severity of their injuries. Rochelle Cook and her sister Kim Holsapple also died in the Amtrak accident.
Missouri Highway Patrol is reporting that up to 150 people were injured in the crash. Numerous residents have complained about how dangerous the train crossing can be. It lacks any lights or other signals.
State records for the crossing indicate that it was due for several safety updates. You can help support the family of Rochelle Cook and Kim Holsapple through GoFundMe.
According to the GoFundMe page, “On June 27th, these lovely ladies took a train ride to Chicago. They were excited to be on their first trip together in many years. This was their four-day getaway. Tragically, the train crashed shortly after departing Kansas City and the two sisters in the center, my Kim (left) and Rachelle, did not survive. In addition to their mom (far left) and niece/daughter (far right), who were hospitalized, they leave behind many loved ones, including children and grandchildren. The money raised will be applied to and help cover final expenses. Thank you all very much!”
Liability In Missouri Amtrak Train Accidents
Train accidents are far more common than many people may realize. According to the National Safety Council, “In 2020, railroad incidents resulted in 5,479 injuries, compared to 7,983 in 2019. Twelve percent of the total (684) occurred at rail-crossings, down 18% from the 2019 total of 835.” The derailment that took place in Missouri follows a string of other deadly train accidents that left many dead and many more seriously injured.
- On September 25, 2021 three people were killed and 50 were injured when a train derailed in Joplin, Montana.
- On February 4, 2018 2 people were killed and 92 people were injured when two trains collided in Cayce, South Carolina.
- On May 12, 2015 8 people died and 185 people were killed when a train derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Depending on the facts of any case, there could be numerous sources of liability for any train derailment accident. Truck drivers will typically need a commercial driver’s license and are held to a high standard in terms of safety. They must do all that vigilance and care require in order to prevent collisions. Pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute 304.035, “No person shall drive any vehicle through, around or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad crossing when a train is approaching while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.” If a dump truck driver failed to yield the right of way to an oncoming train, this could form the basis of a negligence claim in the event of a collision.
A municipal entity in the state of Missouri could also bear some liability for an Amtrak train derailment if it was caused by a dangerous condition on public property. According to Missouri Revised Statute 537.600, a public entity in Missouri is liable for a dangerous condition on their property provided that (1) the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, (2) the injury directly resulted from the dangerous condition, (3) the dangerous condition created a “reasonably foreseeable risk” of the type of injury that occured and that (4) the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and had sufficient time prior to an accident to correct the dangerous condition.
There are many ways that a railroad crossing could be in a dangerous condition. For example, a railroad crossing may have an obstructed line of sight that prevents drivers from being able to see oncoming trains. Foliage, buildings or other artificial structures could easily block a driver’s view. A railroad crossing may also lack crossing guards or traffic signals. Many railroad crossings were originally constructed when cities or counties were much smaller. But as these cities grow and more drivers go through railroad crossings, the odds of a serious collision increase. Likewise, the need for crossing guards and traffic signals increases as more people must use certain railroad crossings.
Amtrak could also potentially be liable for a train derailment. Trains have speed limits in much the same way that cars do. These limits vary depending on where a train is traveling through. Densely populated areas will tend to have lower speed limits than other areas. Train operators must also scan the tracks ahead of them and slow down when necessary to avoid collisions. If an Amtrak operator is speeding or fails to slow down to prevent a collision, this could be interpreted as negligence. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any train accident.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- Surveillance footage from the train should be reviewed.
- City records of the train crossing where the accident took place should be examined.
- A thorough, independent investigation should be conducted.
The family of any victim that died in an Amtrak derailment accident may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Sadly, though, cities, counties, truck companies and train operators will often fight extremely hard to deny liability for any train accident. This is why it is so important that evidence is preserved after any derailment.
Investigating A Missouri Amtrak Train Accident
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Rochelle Cook and Kim Holsapple. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. Residents have long warned about how dangerous this intersection can be. It is our sincere hope that city officials will implement measures to prevent other tragedies like this from happening again.
Do you need more information about the Missouri Amtrak train accident? Our team of train safety experts are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that train companies are doing everything in their power to keep their passengers safe. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.