Court rules driver’s negligence—not railway’s caused fatal crash

An Oklahoma man who ran a stop sign and was hit b y a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train in 2014 near Afton, Oklahoma has lost his appeal with the Federal Court of Appeals in Denver.

Lower courts twice ruled in support of BNSF and against Tyler Malinski and Paula Smith whose husband died in the crash. through a video taken on the train, it was proven the train had sounded its horn 15 seconds before the crash. It also showed that Malinski ran the stop sign at the railway crossing.

Malinski sued the railway arguing it acted negligently in maintaining the crossing.

Malinski and Smith argued the horn could not be heard. Tests were conducted showing the horn could be heard up to a quarter of a mile but attorneys for Malinski and Smith persisted. In two rulings, a lower court granted summary judgment in support of the railway.

Judges for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of BNSF, concluding that Malinski had violated state law and his “negligence proximately caused the collision that led to Malinski’s injuries and Nathan Smith’s death.”

Source: Court of Appeals