A railway company is suing a transportation business and two employees, alleging liability in an accident that smashed a bridge and brought rail traffic to a stop for hours.

The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR) filed a lawsuit June 2 in Jefferson County District Court against: Gary Saatzer of Port Neches; Anthony Carter of Beaumont; and Trans-Global Solutions Inc. (TGS) of Houston, alleging negligence in a 2013 accident.

According to the complaint, on June 11, 2013, a TGS-operated train struck and damaged the plaintiff’s Neches River Bridge and KCSR’s track system—leading to a nearly 36-hour delay of all area train traffic.

The suit says two types of tracks connect the port of Beaumont to its holding yard: the “high-line,” heavily used by KCSR and other carriers including BNSF, Union Pacific and Amtrak; and the “low-line” which runs under the Neches River Bridge.

The suit states TGS employees Saatzer, a conductor, and Carter, an engineer, were to move nine flatbed cars from the port to the holding yard June 11, 2013, and Saatzer: believed there were no high-load cars included; admitted to not checking the train cars closely prior to moving them onto the low-line; and alleged no one heard the system’s high-load detector alarm.

The complaint says when Saatzer instructed his crew to move the cars to the holding yard after waiting for a Union Pacific train to pass and clear the riverfront crossing, security video documented the railcar striking the bridge. The suit states Saatzer purportedly had left the scene to run an errand.

The plaintiff alleges negligence, negligent entrustment, failure to inspect the cars properly and monetary damages.

KCSR seeks: between $100,000 and $10 million in direct, consequential and punitive damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney fees; expenses; and costs. The railway is represented by attorneys J. Mitchell Smith and Toby Nash of Germer in Beaumont.

Jefferson County District Court case number B-197191.

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