Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Illinois Teen Crossing Railroad Tracks at Commonly Used Pathway, Killed by Norfolk Southern Train

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Tilton, Illinois – March 17, 2015)

One of three teenagers, on their way to participate in a pick-up basketball game, was killed Tuesday afternoon between 5:30 and 6:00 P.M., CDT when he attempted to cross Norfolk Southern railroad tracks at a commonly-used pathway, tripped on a rail head, fell, and was hit as he tried to get up.

Shawn Morris, 15, a student in the Danville, IL school system, and his two friends, Bradford Meyer, 15, and Christian Gritton, 16, were going to Meyer’s house to get a basketball when they stopped at the double-track railroad corridor and waited for an eastbound NS train to pass. Morris then attempted to cross as a westbound freight approached and his friends resisted the urge to cross at what Tilton Chief of Police Steve Cornett calls “a big shortcut.”

Chief Cornett told Champaign News-Gazette news writers Noelle McGee and Tracy Moss that for years, kids have been crossing the double set of tracks at that spot – so much that there’s a worn path through a wooded area leading up to the rail bed, and that Shawn lived right across from the path. Cornett added that Shawn “was being a typical 15-year-old,” and that “It’s just a tragedy that happened.” The Chief had known the victim and his family for years.

Shawn had attended Southwest Elementary School in his grade school years, and Danville schools Special Education Director John Hart, who had been Shawn’s principal there, took the news hard after hearing of the tragedy during parent-teacher conferences Tuesday evening. “We are heartbroken,” Hart told the News-Gazette reporters. “Shawn was a neighborhood kid. Everyone knew and liked him.”


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