by Alan McArthur
The employee who was struck by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train on Dec. 8 has died from his injuries. The accident was reported in last week’s Landmark.
Edwin Agnew, 56, of Parkville, was struck by a coal train heading north, between Weston and Iatan. According to sources, the employee lived in the Riss Lake neighborhood. He died Monday night at a hospital in St. Joseph, where he had been taken following the accident.
“He passed away last evening,” said Steve Forsberg, general director of public affairs for BNSF. “Our condolences go to his family and his fellow employees.”
Agnew appears to have been working on a switch with his back to the train and was unable to get out of the way before being struck by a handrail along the steps on the train, according to Forsberg.
Agnew was a signal maintainer and there is a switch with a heater at the site where he was struck.
Forsberg said Agnew had been with the company since 1970. Forsberg said that at the time of the accident, there was poor visibility because of a snow storm, but the train blew its horn when the engineers saw the man. The train stopped using emergency braking procedures. Forsberg was unsure what speed the train was traveling when it struck Agnew.
Agnew was taken by helicopter to Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph from the scene. Forsberg said Agnew was unconscious when he was found and never regained consciousness.
The actual injuries sustained by Agnew have not been released.
After the accident, Platte County Sheriff's Department deputies and West Platte Fire District personnel responded to the scene. However, the incident is being investigated by BNSF, because it is an industrial accident.
The train had four locomotives on the front and one at the rear, and the train was pulling coal cars that were empty. The area where the employee was struck is known by BNSF as East Sadler.
The switch at the site leads to the Iatan Power Plant facility to allow trains to deliver coal to the power plant.