(February 7, 2023 –Pleasant Hill, Missouri)
A local FedEx driver was killed on Tuesday morning at about 9:48 am when his truck was violently struck by a high-speed Amtrak train. The collision occurred at the dangerous, and unguarded Union Pacific Railroad crossing just outside of Pleasant Hill, Missouri. The Union Pacific crossing is near the roadway intersections of Smart Road and S Hereford Road. Local police identified the FedEx driver as 34-year-old Patrick E. Metz, of Kansas City, Missouri.
The Union Pacific crossing where this tragic collision occurred accommodates a daily average of seventeen trains at average speeds of 70 mph. There has also been one prior collision at this crossing that injured another motorist. Despite the relatively high number of train traffic and high speed train operations, there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn motorists of oncoming trains. To make matters worse, since this crossing is categorized as a private crossing, Amtrak and Union Pacific trains do not consistently blow their horn as they approach. A virtually silent, high-speed train barreling down the tracks at an unprotected crossing is a recipe for tragedy.
It is virtually certain that the addition of lights and gates could have prevented this tragedy. Union Pacific, Amtrak, and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train collisions by as much as 96%.