Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Man, Dog Seriously Injured At Dangerous, Unguarded California Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

Jose’ Casares, the driver of a pickup truck and his 3-month-old bull mastiff puppy, Zeus, were both seriously injured Tuesday morning when their southbound pickup was struck by an eastbound San Joaquin Valley Railroad freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Hayes Street and SJVRR tracks Tuesday morning about 10:30 A.M.

The intersection of Hayes and the SJVRR is “guarded” only by passive railroad crossbuck signs, lacking any form of automatic (lights, bells or gates) protective devices, and the driver may never have seen or heard the approaching train.

“I thought we were going to be calling the coroner on this call,” said Fresno Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo, “But I’m glad we didn’t.”

The train carried the two, trapped in their rapidly-destructing pickup, about 300 yards down the track before stopping, and Fresno firefighters worked for 45 minutes with the “jaws of life” to free both human and animal victims.

The driver was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where he was admitted in critical condition, while Fresno Animal Control took Zeus to Veterinary Emergency Services animal hospital, where he underwent extensive surgery for a broken leg, and may eventually lose a toe.

VES doctors say the puppy will recover, but that initial treatment cost his owner about $12,000, and does not count additional surgery Zeus will need. Therefore, an account has been set up for donations to help with the cost of his care through Bank of the Sierra under the name of “Injured Mastiff Fund.”

The SJVRR is one of 43 regional and short line railroads owned and operated by the RailAmerica rail conglomerate, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.


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