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Train Collision


Each year, more than 800 people die in railroad-related fatalities.*

The Case

A 53-year-old well-known Bootheel area businessman died after his pickup truck was struck by a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train at an unguarded crossing in Missouri.

The crossing is marked solely by passive railroad crossbuck signs, without active flashing lights, bells or crossing gates to warn of oncoming trains. The county road crosses the tracks at an extreme angle, creating a hazardous intersection further obstructed by vegetative growth and other visual obstacles.

On behalf of the man’s widow, Cook, Barkett, Ponder & Wolz argued that there were many near misses at this unprotected crossing prior to this death, making it clear that this crossing did not meet industry standards.

The Result

BNSF had hundreds of opportunities to correct the danger, but they continued to gamble with lives, and the death of this beloved husband and father was the result. A jury agreed, awarding $20 million to the deceased’s family.


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