Feds Decline Criminal Charges In Atchison Grain Elevator Explosion
Five years after a catastrophic explosion at an Atchison grain elevator took the lives of six workers, federal investigators concluded their inquiry deciding not to file criminal charges against the facility’s owner. A state-led investigation already determined the explosion was accidental and caused by the combustion of grain dust at the elevator.
While the U.S. Attorney in Topeka released a statement saying “there is not sufficient evidence to support criminal charges against the owner,” the refrain from criminal prosecution will not insulate the facility’s owner from enforcement actions by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The federal safety oversight organization recommended $406,000 in fines for what it called serious and willful violations of federal safety standards.
OSHA inspectors accused Bartlett Grain of indifference towards safety regulations, which, if followed, could have prevented the tragic accident. Bartlett Grain vehemently denied the accusations and is poised to contest the investigation’s findings.
Families of Atchison grain explosion file wrongful death lawsuits
While the criminal and regulatory investigations play themselves out, another facet of the terrible event continues to work its way through the court system as four of the victims’ families litigate their wrongful death lawsuits against Bartlett Grain. The suits, filed in Jackson County, claim Bartlett Grain senior vice president Bob Knief and others “issued directives that displayed a knowing or voluntary disregard” for the safety of workers at the facility.
Since state and federal investigators declined to press criminal charges, civil lawsuits like the ones filed by the victims’ families often become the last resort to hold wrongdoers like Bartlett Grain responsible for their careless actions. Wrongful death lawsuits can help the families of victims recover for their loved one’s lost income and support, recoup burial expenses, and secure compensation for the pain and suffering from losing someone close.
All too often, negligent parties attempt to skirt responsibility for their disregard of the law and wellbeing of others, no matter the consequences brought for victims. Fortunately, the law gives victims the legal right to retain an experienced attorney to help prosecute wrongful death lawsuits and seek justice.
Olathe wrongful death lawyer
If your family suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, contact our office for a free consultation about your case with an Olathe wrongful death lawyer. The Morrison Law Firm serves clients throughout Kansas including Olathe, Overland Park, and Johnson County. Call us today (913)780-6666.