Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

South Carolina County Suffers Two unrelated Train Deaths in 12 Hours

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Spartanburg County, South Carolina – January 24, 2013)

The too-often unpleasant side of being a county coroner was foisted upon Rusty Clevenger, Spartanburg County, SC coroner late Wednesday and early Thursday when his expertise was required twice for unrelated railroad deaths within only a few miles and 12 hours apart.

Ryan Andrew Greenwood, 18, of Lyman, SC was the first of the train-related fatalities Wednesday evening at about 5:30 P.M., when he was struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train near 904 East Poinsette Street in Greer, SC. The victim was walking in the same direction but ahead of the train on NS tracks when he was struck by the train and then pronounced dead at the scene after the coroner responded.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Norfolk Southern Police in investigating the fatality in Greer.

Exactly 12 hours later, Clevenger was called to the scene of a second railroad fatality, this one occurring on Norfolk Southern tracks in Wellford, SC, where a motorist had mistaken the railroad ballast for a crossing at the intersection of Syphrit Road and Tucapau Road in Wellford, SC.

Richard Darrell West, Sr., was killed at 5:30 A.M. Thursday morning, as he was driving his pickup truck east on Tucapau Road and came to the T-Bone intersection with Syphrit Road, which directly parallels NS tracks with only a few feet of separation between the road and the railroad. The victim apparently thought the dark, inclined ballast embankment which angles up to the track was a grade crossing approach, and ran his truck onto the tracks where he was hit by the train.

The NS corridor through both Greer and Wellford accommodates 19 trains daily, including four Amtrak passenger operations, at a top allowable speed of 79 mph.

The second tragedy was investigated by officers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Lyman, SC Police Dept., Wellford, SC Police Dept. and Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.


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