Call us: 1.800.522.0216


Driver of Truck in Amtrak Crash Had Called His Rig a ‘Piece of Junk’

The driver of a semi-truck that collided with an Amtrak train in the Nevada desert in 2011 had repeatedly complained about the reliability of his 2008 Peterbilt big rig, according to a report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to The Associated Press, the report also said that another trucker who was driving next to the Peterbilt said the driver, Lawrence Valli, “was driving like he didn’t see the train and lights that were flashing well before impact.” 

The witness said he was traveling about 65 mph one-quarter to one-half mile from the crossing when he noticed the train. When he saw that Valli wasn’t slowing, the man said he looked to see if the crossing mechanisms were working.

“He saw the lights flashing and saw the cross arm down,” the report said.

Just before impact, the witness said he saw the truck brakes lock up and black smoke coming from the brakes.

The collision left six dead, including Mr. Valli, and scores of train passengers injured. At least 15 lawsuits have been filed in connection with the collision.

Mr. Valli’s mother told the NTSB that her son’s truck was “a death trap,” and that he frequently complained about its unreliability. Other witnesses told the agency that he called the truck “a piece of junk” and “a lemon.”

Mr. Valli had previously received 11 speeding tickets and other violations, including inattentive driving and improper lane location. The report also said that Mr. Valli had earlier been diagnosed with amblyopia, an eye condition that can cause poor depth perception of reduced vision in one eye. However, according to the report, he had passed his most recent eye exam.

The Law Offices of Frank Branson provides legal representation to victims of trucking and other commercial vehicle accidents. The Law Offices of Frank Branson is not involved in this case.

Whether the cause of the collision is driver fatigueimproper truck maintenance, and/or improper screening, training and supervision of drivers, the Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson have the experience, resources and technical abilities to determine what happened and who should be held responsible.