Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Oklahoma Motorist Killed at Unguarded and Extremely Skewed BNSF Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Goltry, Oklahoma – January 1, 2017)

A 33-year-old Cleo Springs, OK resident was killed last Monday afternoon about 4:23 P.M., CST, when his 2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck was hit by a northwest-bound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train. The collision occured at the dangerous, unguarded and extremely angular crossing of BNSF rails and Alfalfa County Road 740 (also listed as CR 2740) just east of Goltry, OK.

Timothy J. Leierer was approaching the crossing and likely was never aware of the train before he was hit. The train involved in the collision was one of 18 BNSF freights which cross there daily at maximum allowable speeds of 49 mph. The road/rail intersection does not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn drivers of a train’s approach. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Both the BNSF and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.

An earth berm also shields the view to the east for southbound drivers as was the case Monday. In addition, the BNSF rails cross CR 740 at an extremely obtuse angle, adding to the difficulty for sight distance motorist view of approaching trains.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Alfalfa County Sheriff’s Office investigated the New Year’s Day tragedy.



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