Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Elevated Railroad Crossings Cause Serious Damages in Texas, Georgia Accidents

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Crawford, Texas and Statham, Georgia – June 3, 2011)

Over 1,000 miles separated two serious railroad crossing accidents Friday, but the circumstances were strangely similar, as two semi-trailer trucks became hung up on high-profile railroad crossings. Efforts to halt later-arriving freight trains were not successful.

In Crawford, Texas, a tractor-trailer hauling an oil drilling rig became stuck at the humped grade crossing of FM Road 185 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks. A BNSF train rounded the curve as the trucker went for help in extricating his stuck trailer.

Efforts to halt the train even involved Crawford Police Chief Edward McCoy, who was only 20 feet from the trailer when the BNSF train struck and demolished it and its load Friday afternoon. Witnesses complained that the same crossing had been the site of numerous previous truck-trailer hang-ups, even though the crossing is approved for routing of low-boy trailers by the Texas Dept. of Transportation.

Full story HERE

Earlier Friday, about 10:30 A.M., a trailer truck-load of antique, vintage automobiles became stuck on the CSX Railroad tracks crossed at a high angle by Jefferson Street/Georgia Highway 211 in Statham, GA. The tractor-trailer and its payload were virtually destroyed by a 56-car CSX train powered by four locomotives as local officials tried to stop the oncoming train.

Statham Mayor Robert Bridges, who was nearby preparing for a grand opening celebration, saw the train coming and despite his attempts to warn the train crew, the train struck the tractor-trailer. Three of the vintage autos, including a Ford Model T, were destroyed or badly damaged.

Georgia State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Division cited Richard Lewis, the driver, with a litany of driving offenses including “failing to get out of his truck and measure the roadway’s angle” adding insult to the injury.

Lewis, who rarely uses his valid DOT commercial trucker’s license anymore, and was hauling the antique vehicles to an auction, said “I lost everything today.”

Numerous witnesses, who work nearby, were critical of the high profile of the railroad crossing, and that “Trucks pulling lowboy trailers – the kind used to haul heavy equipment – often get stuck on the tracks at this intersection because of the grade leading up to the crossing.”

Meanwhile, Lewis, the victim, was livid about being blamed for the accident. “They told me that I wasn’t supposed to take my vehicle across there unless I got out to see if it could handle my truck or not. That’s a state route there – they were designated for tractor-trailers to go through there, and my tractor-trailer got stuck on that railroad track. I could have been killed right there, and they wrote me a citation.”

Read more about the accident HERE



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