Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Minnesotan on His Way to Work Dies at Dangerous, Unguarded, UnFlagged, Foggy Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Kelsey Township, Minnesota – February 13, 2013)

When a train stops, for any reason, and blocks a dangerous, unguarded crossing, it makes sense for a member of the train crew or law enforcement to post a flagger or a flare at the crossing, especially when it is dark outside, and even more so when heavy fog is blanketing the area making the train difficult, at best, to see. Yet, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train experienced mechanical problems early Wednesday morning, and was blocking the Arkola Road grade crossing, near its intersection with Parssinen Road close to the Kelsey Township, MN community of Cotton.

Unable to see the train without flashing lights or crossing gates, neither of which were present at the crossing, in the early morning darkness and foggy conditions, 28-year-old Adam John Sharp, on his way to work in his SUV, struck the side of the stopped train about 6:00 A.M., resulting in his death even though citizens at the scene and EMS personnel made futile efforts to save the victim’s life.

Sgt. Wade Rasch of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Dept. said the crossing was marked with standard, passive railroad crossing crossbuck signs and highway stop signs, but had no active protection such as flashing lights or gates.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Wednesday’s tragedy was the sixth accident at the crossing, which also goes by the designation as County Highway 52, but was the first fatality.


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