Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Improvements were Planned at Canyon Crossing where Cheerleader Died

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Canyon, Texas – September 29, 2012)

The Fourth Street crossing of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks where 21-year-old West Texas A&M University cheerleader Shelbi McClure died early Tuesday morning in a collision with a BNSF freight train was one of two Canyon, TX crossings scheduled to receive safety improvements in order to become a “Quiet Zone” according to Canyon City Manager Randy Criswell.

Both Fourth and Fifteenth Streets were to be fitted with island-style concrete median barriers which would make swerving around lowered crossing gates impossible. It is alleged that the victim did so before she was hit by a BNSF train traveling at 40 mph, but according to statements made in regard to the accident, the gates were in the process of lowering when she drove under them and was hit. However, for a circuit designed to accommodate 70 mph trains, which is the top speed allowed through Canyon, would mean a train at almost half that speed would deploy the gates fully far sooner than the train’s arrival at the crossing, regardless of speed sensors and extended circuitry, and thus the medians would not have been factors.

The City Manager said the creation of the safety improvements which would be necessary to qualify the Canyon corridor as a “Quiet Zone” had been in the works for months, and was driven by “dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints” about the whistles blown by the 80 to 100 BNSF trains passing through Canyon on a daily basis.

“Those who live along the tracks and typically those who live north of the tracks hate the train whistles,” explained Criswell, “and they’re the ones that called me.”


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