Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Randolph County The Honorable Scott
A. Hayes, Judge
Cynthia L. Martin, P.J., and Lisa White Hardwick and Alok
Theresa Beal was injured when her car was involved in a
collision with a train at a railroad crossing in Higbee. She
brought this personal injury action in the Circuit Court of
Randolph County against the Respondents. Beal alleged that
her injuries were caused by the Respondents' negligence
in failing to maintain an unobstructed view of the
trial court granted summary judgment to Respondents. It
concluded that Beal was negligent for failing to stop her car
at the crossing, and that her negligence was the sole cause
of the accident.
appeals. We reverse.
13, 2013, Beal's vehicle was struck by a train at DOT
Crossing No. 293392L, located on Randolph Street in Higbee.
At the time of the collision, the approach to the crossing
was protected by a stop sign, a railroad crossbuck sign, and
a railroad crossing advance warning sign.
collision occurred at 8:38 p.m., in "dark-lighted"
conditions; Beal testified that it was "sort of
dusk." Beal was driving a Ford Contour southbound on
Randolph Street. At the same time, a train owned and operated
by the Kansas City Southern Railway Company and Kansas City
Southern, Inc. was traveling westbound on the railroad tracks
that intersect with Randolph Street. Beal alleged that she
sustained serious injuries in the collision.
November 30, 2015 Beal filed her Second Amended Petition
against Respondents Kansas City Southern Railway, Kansas City
Southern, Capital Railroad Contracting, Inc., and Ironhorse,
Inc. (At the time of the accident, Capital and Ironhorse were
under contract with KC Southern Railway and KC Southern to
perform track surfacing and tie replacement in the area where
the collision occurred.) In her Second Amended Petition, Beal
alleged that her injuries were caused by Respondents'
negligence in: failing to ensure that the railroad
right-of-way was free from visual obstructions, including
parked vehicles and vegetation; failing to properly inspect
the crossing; failing to warn of the dangerous condition of
the crossing; and failing to properly maintain and update the
crossing and its traffic control devices.
stop sign at the crossing was installed by the City of Higbee
before 2006. Beal had been a resident of Higbee for several
years before the accident, and she admitted that the stop
sign had "always been there." Beal acknowledged
that she had frequently driven over the crossing prior to the
collision. She also admitted that she saw the stop sign and
railroad crossbuck sign as she approached the crossing
immediately prior to the collision.
testified in her deposition that as she approached the
crossing, she began to look for trains on the track, although
she could not remember where her car was located when she
started looking for trains.
digital video recorder on the lead locomotive of the train
captured audio and video of the collision. The audio
recording indicates that the locomotive's air horn was
sounding as the train approached the crossing. As the
locomotive approaches the crossing, the video recording shows
vegetation, and vehicles parked near the right of way, to the
right of the train - the direction from which Beal's
vehicle was approaching. The video indicates that Beal's
vehicle did not come to a complete stop before entering the
Respondents filed a joint motion for summary judgment, which
argued that Beal was negligent per se for violating
Missouri statutes and a Higbee ordinance which required her
to stop before entering the crossing. The circuit court
granted the motion. In addition to finding that Beal was
negligent per se, the court also found that
"Plaintiff's negligence was the sole cause of the
collision and Plaintiff's alleged injuries and damages,
" and that "Plaintiff's contention ...