Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

State Official Cites Signal Visibility in Idaho Crossing Fatality

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Barrymore, Idaho – December 12, 2012)

A regional spokesman for the Idaho Transportation Department indicated visibility of flashing crossing lights in the daytime may have been a major factor in the Wednesday death of a Jerome, ID man at the crossing of Eastern Idaho Railroad tracks and U.S. Highway 93 where his 2007 Cadillac Escalade was struck by a 26-car EIRR freight train about 2:30 P.M., and was dragged 400 yards west of the non-gated crossing.

The victim, Jess Linch, 64, died at the scene, where his vehicle was virtually destroyed.

Wednesday’s tragedy was the seventh accident at the crossing since 1999, according to Nathan Jerke of the ITD. Jerke noted that the accidents, all of which but one were non-injury incidents, with Wednesday’s representing the lone fatal wreck. The ISD official faulted the difficulty of seeing flashing lights in daylight, as all the accidents cited occurred during daylight hours. Jerke added that, because of the existence of industrial buildings on the east side of the crossing, westbound trains – which was the direction of the train Wednesday –“ can be difficult to see”.

In addition, Jerke said that the Highway 93 crossing had already been the subject of discussions at ITD, as the highway is planned to be widened and the crossing improved.

Responders to the tragedy included the Idaho State Police, Jerome County Sheriff’s Office, Jerome City Fire and Rescue, the Jerome Rural Fire District and paramedics from St. Luke’s Hospital in Jerome.

The Eastern Idaho Railroad is one of several short line and regional railroads possessed and operated by the privately-owned Watco transportation group headquartered in Pittsburg, KS.


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