A Liberty parks worker has died after a city work truck was hit by a train Wednesday morning.
Cameron Leeds, 26, of Gladstone was driving the truck when he attempted to cross a double set of train tracks on a service road south of Old Highway 210, east of Missouri 291, about 9:40 a.m.
“We have lost a young and vibrant member of our Liberty family today,” Liberty City Administrator Curt Wenson said in a written statement. “Cameron has left an indelible mark on the Parks & Rec Department and the City of Liberty as a whole.”
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Leeds and another worker in the truck were traveling north on the gravel road and had waited at the crossing while a westbound train passed.
But after that train cleared, the parks truck drove into the path of an eastbound train on the second track, police said.
Leeds, who had worked for the city for three years, had to be extricated from the truck, which was knocked into the ditch on the north side of the track. The other worker, a 58-year-old man, suffered serious injuries and was reported to be in stable condition Wednesday.
The workers were driving on a gravel service road and the crossing has only a stop sign, with no lowering arms or warning lights. It is not a road used by the general public and has a fence and a gate between the railroad crossing and Old Highway 210. The truck was hit by a Norfolk Southern train.
Leeds’ death is being felt throughout the city’s departments, Wenson said in his statement.
“With a city staff our size,” he said, “we get to know and work closely with people in every department.”
Earlier, Liberty Police Capt. Andy Hedrick said the Police Department shared the same grief.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the workers,” Hedrick said. “We (the police and other city departments) work with the parks all the time and they’re considered family.”
Wednesday’s crash occurred during the middle of Operation Lifesaver’s national Rail Safety Week campaign.