Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Boy’s Leg Reattachment Unsuccessful as Details of CSX Tragedy Unfold

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Newport News, Virginia – October 16, 2012)

The announcement that doctors had been able to re-attach a 10-year-old boy’s leg, which was severed Sunday by a passing CSX freight train as he joined other children playing on the almost totally unguarded railroad tracks that pass through a heavily-populated part of Newport News, VA, have proven to be premature optimism, as the crushing nature of the wound made re-attachment surgery virtually impossible.

The youngster, now identified as Jahmee Harris of Hampton, VA, who, along with his family were visiting an aunt who lives near the railroad in Newport News, is currently listed in fair condition after having been transferred to a third hospital, The Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA.

With the release Monday of the Sunday afternoon 911 tape of the conversation between eye-witness James Slater, who lives near the tracks in the Hilton Village area on Bellwood Road, and was calling police for at least the second time after children playing on the tracks and trains failed to heed his admonition to play elsewhere, has shocked many who were unaware of the repeated warnings that Slater had made to officials about the dangerous nature of the neighborhood children’s activities. Slater was on the phone with the 911 operator when the tragic injury occurred, and he can be heard saying that he was hearing screams and that a boy had lost his leg.

The taped conversation includes the cry of young Harris as he screams “I’m going to die” as Slater comes to his aid. The 911 operator offers Slater emergency first aid instruction and Slater asks other bystanders to bring the supplies needed for the boy’s care, but EMT’s arrive before the supplies can be brought to the scene.

As Slater attempted to comfort the young victim, Harris asked him to hold him and kept repeating “I don’t want to die,” as his rescuer reassured him that he would not die.

“I was always scared something bad was going to happen,” said Slater, who added that he had seen the children playing on the tracks and trains at least a week earlier, and had pled with them to refrain from their dangerous activities before calling 911 both Saturday and Sunday. Police responded to his earlier call, but the train had passed on and the children had left.

Slater told The Newport News Daily Press that the ordeal was “an image I’ll never be able to shake,” adding that “As horrific as this was, at least the kid didn’t die. You don’t get too many second chances when it comes to a train.


Railroad News


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James Perrin Lubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluen Harriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. Miller Mandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike Easley Arkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger Brown Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8