(La Plata, Missouri – July 18, 2012)
A Moberly, MO semi-trailer truck driver was severely injured Wednesday morning when his 1995 Peterbilt tractor hauling a trailer was struck and totally destroyed by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of BNSF rails and Indiana Place (CR 511B) just southwest of La Plata, MO.
The truck driven by William Swetnam, 59, was northbound and the train was westbound, coming out of the early morning sun. The crossing which is “protected” solely by a pair of standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs, lacks any active protective devices such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates which have been shown to be over 90% effective at preventing accident. The double-track BNSF main line has over 60 trains, including Amtrak, which cross daily at speeds of up to 85 mph, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
The victim was flown by Air-Evac helicopter to University Hospital in Columbia, MO, where he was admitted in unknown condition, as Missouri State Highway Patrol personnel investigated the accident.