BNSF timeline

  • March 28, 2012 - 9:13 PM


Sept. 26, 2003: Slightly after 10 p.m., a westbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train, traveling about 60 miles per hour, hits a car at the Ferry Street crossing in Anoka. Four people in the car are killed.

June 13, 2008: After a six-week trial, an Anoka County District Court jury awards the families of the four victims $21.6 million. The jury determines that BNSF was 90 percent responsible in the accident and the driver 10 percent responsible. Plaintiffs argued that the crossing signal wasn't working properly at the time of the accident. The railroad maintains that it was and that the car had gone around the gate.

Oct. 15, 2009: Ruling on a request by the victims' families for sanctions against BNSF, Judge Ellen Maas says the railroad engaged in a "staggering" pattern of misconduct in the case and awards an additional $4.2 million to the families and their attorneys.

Sept. 14, 2010: The Minnesota Court of Appeals says the case must be retried because jurors were allowed to use the wrong standard in holding the railroad liable for the crash.

March 28, 2012: The Minnesota Supreme Court reverses the Appeals Court ruling, saying a retrial is not warranted. The decision upholds the $21.6 million jury award.

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