Woman Files Lawsuit Against BNSF Over Wind River Crash That Killed Her Father

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against BNSF Railway Company in connection with a vehicle crash that killed her father in the Wind River Canyon last summer.

Kellie Martin, a Montana resident, filed the lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court and asked for an damages in an amount to be determined in trial.

In the lawsuit, Martin alleged that BNSF was negligent in hiring, retaining, training, entrusting and supervising the employee who was driving a BNSF vehicle that struck the vehicle her father was driving last summer, killing him. Since the man was an employee of the company and driving in a BNSF vehicle, the company is liable for her father’s death, the lawsuit said.

According to the court documents, around 5:30 p.m. on June 18, 73-year-old Patrick Moore was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 20 in the Wind River Canyon.

At the same time, Douglas Wallage, a BNSF employee driving a company truck, was headed southbound on the same highway.

Wallage passed a Chevy pickup while on the highway, and then attempted to pass a Cadillac Escalade towing a boat and trailer.

However, when he entered the northbound lane to pass the Cadillac, he hit Patrick Moore’s vehicle head-on, killing Moore.

“Wallage breached his duty to operate the BNSF vehicle in a safe, prudent and responsible manner and to keep an eye out [for] other vehicles when he negligently entered Moore’s lane of traffic causing a head-on collision with Moore’s vehicle at highway speeds,” the lawsuit said. “Wallage’s conduct described above was outrageous and utterly reckless and a reasonable person would know that such outrageous conduct was highly likely to injure or kill someone.”

According to a Wyoming Highway Patrol crash report, Moore was not wearing his seatbelt when the crash occurred.

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