Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Texas Motorist Stopped at a Union Pacific Crossing is Nearly Killed the Train Derails in Front of Her

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Howe, Texas – June 20, 2014)

Denise Hamner was on her way home from work when she stopped at about 3:50 P.M., CDT, at the FM Road 902 railroad grade crossing of a portion of Union Pacific rails now leased and operated by the Genesee & Wyoming short and regional railroad conglomerate Dallas Garland Northeastern Railroad to allow a DGN train of about three dozen cars pass by in Howe, TX.

Hamner, who lives only a few blocks from the crossing, told KTEN-TV, NBC Channel 10 in Sherman, TX “I’m just sitting there waiting for the train to cross and it was kind of like one of those movies.” As the train crossed the signalized crossing, equipped with bells and flashing lights but no crossing gates, several cars began to derail almost in front of her.

“It was just shaking really weird and then the first car kind of caught a piece of the track, and it just kind of escalated from there,” she described, as the seventh through the 11th cars from the end of the train derailed, four of them turning on their sides and a fifth leaning at a dangerous angle. The motorist could easily have been killed in the derailment, but, miraculously, escaped unscathed. The derailed cars were loaded with rock aggregate used in the making of concrete for construction projects.

Both residents and Howe Police authorities reported that railroad workers had been replacing wooden crossties only a few weeks ago along the route where the derailment occurred.

The Richardson, TX-headquartered railroad is one of 112 domestic and foreign railroads owned and operated by the Genesee & Wyoming, and, according to Federal Railroad Administration reports, operates four trains daily across the FM 902 crossing at maximum allowable speeds of 25 mph.

Meanwhile, Denise Hamner considered herself and her fellow Howe residents to be fortunate. “I’m just glad it wasn’t anything caustic or flammable. It could have been a lot worse!” 


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