According to recent news reports from Kelso Washington three people have died and one person has suffered serious injury after the van they were in was struck by a Burlington Northern Sant Fe freight train on Wednesday March 23 near Tennant Way. The occupants of the van used to shuttle train company workers were either employees or contractors of the train company. They had just gotten off of work around 4 p.m. when the accident occurred. Three of the victims died at the Scene of the Accident. The surviving victim was taken by air to OHSU. The train wreck happened at a private crossing that was reported to be dangerous due to many switching areas several tracks and a lack of warning signals or crossing bars.
UPDATE: The names of the victims have been released: Steven Sebastian 60 of Castle Rock; Tom Kenny 58 of Seattle; and Christopher Loehr 28 also of Seattle.
When large-scale accidents occur that result in severe injury and multiple losses of life many investigations will be conducted by many different investigative agencies. In the event that negligent behavior by any involved entity may have played a role in this tragic wreck a third-party investigation may also be pursued that can look into possible issues of liability. Was the safety of the workers put in jeopardy at any time? Did negligent driving or operation of the train play a role? Did the reported lack of warning signs at the railroad crossing contribute to the accident? These are only a few of the issues that may have played a role in this devastating train wreck. Depending on the particular circumstances of the accident which can only be discovered through an extensive investigation different parties may each bear varying levels of liability for the accident.