A Missouri railroad crossing accident that resulted in severe and disabling injuries to a college student is the subject of a St. Clair County personal injury lawsuit.

The parents of Laura Warren claim Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. is negligent for an incident that took place Dec. 22, 2005, at a grade crossing on Meramec Terrace Road in Franklin County.

Steven and Gail Warren claim the train's horn was not properly blown to warn of the train's approach.

Laura Warren was a passenger in the left rear side of a Ford Explorer when it was struck as it traveled west across the tracks.

The suit, filed May 25, also names the train's engineer as a defendant, Samuel S. Williams.

According to the suit, Williams did not blow the proper emergency horn sequence or properly engage the emergency brakes.

The suit also claims the crossing had an inadequate approach sight distance, which was one of the contributing factors that led to the collision.

"Defendant BNSF failed to clear visibility obstructions to provide motorists with an adequate view of the track in both directions, in violation of applicable Missouri state law," the complaint states.

The suit claims that venue is proper in St. Clair County because both defendants are residents of the county.

Laura Warren was enrolled at the University of Missouri-Rolla, the complaint states. Her parents were appointed as co-guardians and co-conservators of her estate as she is incapacitated and disabled.

She suffered closed head injuries, brain infarctions, hemorrhage and contusions to her brain, multiple skull base fractures, extensive facial fractures, fractured pelvis and ribs, multiple soft tissue and internal organ injuries including lacerated spleen and liver, and diaphragmatic rupture with herniation of her stomach into her left hemi-thorax, and hemorrhagic shock and anemia from blood loss, the suit states.

The two-count suit seeks in excess of $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Plaintiffs are represented by Robert F. Ritter and Patrick J. Hagerty of Gray, Ritter & Graham of St. Louis, and Joseph A. Bartholomew of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin of Belleville.

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