Lawyers for the John Davis Trucking Company say they have new evidence that proves that Union Pacific Railroad altered or destroyed evidence to make it appear that a truck driver was at fault in a 2011 truck-train wreck that claimed the life of a truck driver and five others.
The accident occurred on June 24, 2011 when a Peterbilt truck was struck by an Amtrak train that was traveling from Chicago to California. The collision killed five people aboard the Amtrak train, as well as the truck driver Lawrence Valli.
A 2012 NTSB report blamed Valli’s “delayed braking” for the crash. The report went on to call Valli an “inattentive” driver, however, attorneys for John Davis Trucking claim that Union Pacific was negligent because the crossing gates were not working at the time of the crash.
John Davis Trucking Attorneys allege that Union Pacific altered evidence to make it look like the crossing gate came down at the appropriate time.
The carrier’s attorneys allege that Ken Hunt, the senior-ranking UP official, failed to maintain the scene and allowed evidence be tampered with.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, lawyers for John Davis Trucking Co. took their evidence to state and federal judges, claiming that Union Pacific tampered with evidence and that a senior-ranking official for Union Pacific ignored an NTSB directive to “secure and preserve” the crash site until the investigation was complete.
Attorneys for John Davis Trucking have asked for more time to question Hunt. U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke granted the filing and a hearing is now set for March 21.
Union Pacific spokesman, Aaron Hunt, told the Las Vegas Sun that the company denies the claims.
“We plan to vigorously defend ourselves against the claim that Union Pacific tampered with evidence or withheld information related to the investigation of this incident,” Hunt said in an email to the Las Vegas Sun.