|Truck brake test at Nevada collision site / Courtesy NTSB|
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have revisited the Nevada crash site where tractor trailer driver Lawrence Valli crashed his big rig into an Amtrak train on June 24, 2011, killing himself and four people on the train.
NTSB officials arrived last week to reenact the chain of events that led to the fatal crash, putting a tractor trailer identical to the one that crashed through a variety of tests. Investigators skidded the tractor trailer and tested the brakes. They also conducted a test to see if the tractor trailer driver could hear the Amtrak train as it was approaching the railroad crossing. The engineer on the June 24 Amtrak train told investigators he blew his horn four times attempting to warn the driver of the railroad crossing. NTSB officials declined to reveal whether the train's horn could be heard from the tractor trailer cab.
Immediately after the crash, Amtrak and Union Pacific filed suit against John Davis Trucking, the company that employed Valli. John Davis Trucking immediately counter-sued. There are currently seven pending lawsuits against Amtrak and the John Davis Trucking Company in state court, seeking thousands in damages based on claims of negligence.