ADA — A jury in Pontotoc County has handed down a $9.6 million award to the family of a Sulphur football coach killed at a rural BNSF Railway railroad crossing in 2008.
The family of Jeffery Nye — including his widow, mother and two children who were ages 16 and 17 at the time of the accident — moved to sue BNSF Railway Co. in 2009. Nye died when a train struck his 2005 Jeep in December 2008 at a rural BNSF railroad crossing near Roff in Pontotoc County.
The Nye family claimed in the wrongful death suit that the BNSF train failed to blow its horn to warn the public of its approach. The family claimed in the lawsuit that BNSF was responsible for overgrown vegetation at the railroad crossing, which blocked motorists' views of approaching trains.
BNSF also should have installed flashing lights and gates to warn the public of approaching trains at the crossing, the family claimed.
The company does not agree with the jury's verdict and is still weighing its legal options, BNSF said.
“BNSF is sympathetic to the family involved in this tragic grade crossing accident. But we do not believe this verdict is supported by the facts of the case,” the company said in a statement. “Governmental traffic authorities and not BNSF determine the type of traffic control devices at grade crossings. Further, we believe key evidence was ignored in reaching this decision. BNSF is considering its legal options and remedies in light of this verdict.”