Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Two Killed, Two in Critical Condition at Non-Gated Norfolk Southern Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Jefferson County, Kentucky – March 14, 2015)

In a traumatic tragedy witnessed and filmed by two railroad enthusiasts who were at the crossing taking train videos, two individuals died and two others were transported to University Hospital in Louisville, KY after their car collided with a southbound Norfolk Southern freight train at an extremely dangerous, questionably-designed grade crossing on Crawford Avenue in the Buechel area of greater Louisville, KY around 4:00 P.M. Saturday afternoon.

Railfans Anthony Collman and Logan Bennett had a video camera set up near the crossing and, in the process of pursuing their harmless hobby, inadvertently filmed the tragedy as the Union Pacific locomotive being used to power the 400,000-ton, 100-car freight train struck and virtually destroyed the white Toyota in carrying the four as-yet unidentified victims, estimated to be in their 20’s.

The crossing is an absolute design engineer’s nightmare, as the road, Crawford Avenue, becomes Buechel Bank Road just beyond the crossing, and the actual intersection of road and rail comes on the apex of a 90 degree curve as the two city streets meet and exchange identities. Buildings and heavy tree foliage, even in winter, help camouflage the crossing which, although having flashing lights and bells, is not equipped with the most critical at-grade crossing protective device of all: crossing gates!

The crossing, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, accommodates as many as 30 trains daily at a top allowable speed of 45 mph, and has now been the site of seven accidents – four of which have occurred since 2006, and now averaging at least one every two years – but, prior to Saturday, had victims suffering only non-fatal injury.

Witnesses Bennett and Collman spoke to a number of news media representatives who flocked to the tragic scene where pieces of the victims’ vehicle littered the railroad right-of-way. “I’m still shaking,” said Bennett. “…you see the car pull up and then ‘boom’ – this loud impact hits right in the center of the car. You can hear (brakes) screeching, glass breaking, and it was the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he continued.

Collman told WDRB-TV, “There needs to be crossing gates because of the curvature of this road. There needs to be gates put at this crossing! Lights and horns just aren’t enough!”


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