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UPDATE: Gary Raymond Danning Died In Rohnert Park SMART Train Accident While Riding Bicycle At The Golf Course Drive Rail Crossing


Jul 3, 2019

Gary Danning Rohnert Park: Gary Raymond Danning From Petaluma Died In Rohnert Park SMART Train Accident While Riding Bicycle At The Golf Course Drive Rail Crossing

ROHNERT PARK, CALIFORNIA (July 3, 2019) – A 66-year-old man from Petaluma identified as Gary Raymond Danning has tragically died in a SMART train accident near the Golf Course Drive rail crossing. 

Rohnert Park police are saying that Gary Raymond Danning was on a bicycle when he was hit around 6:42 a.m. Firefighters, paramedics and police rushed to the scene.

Gary Raymond Danning was found deceased around 75 feet away from the intersection. The train accident was captured on video. 

Gary Raymond Danning was near the edge of the train tracks shortly before being hit. This is the second fatality near the Golf Course Drive rail crossing in the last two days.

A 30-year-old woman died on June 27th after being hit by a SMART Train. SMART and Rohnert Park city officials are working together to determine if any safety improvement could be made to the busy intersection. 

Liability In Train Accidents

Trains are considered “common carriers” according to federal and state laws. As such, they have a heightened legal responsibility to take measures to prevent accidents. According to Acosta v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist, “Common carriers bind themselves to carry safely those whom they take into their vehicles, and owe both a duty of utmost care and the vigilance of a very cautious person towards their passengers. Such carriers are responsible for any, even the slightest, negligence and are required to do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under all the circumstances.” There are a number of ways in which a railroad crossing may be dangerous:

  • A railroad crossing should be relatively consistent with the design of the road that it surrounds. If cars, pedestrians or cyclists approach a railroad crossing with a steep gradient this can be hazardous.
  • Railroad crossings should have adequate warning systems in place in order to prevent accidents. This could include crossing arms that are equipped with flashing lights and audible warning sounds. 
  • A railroad crossing should have a clear line of sight at both ends of the tracks. This is important because it allows pedestrians and cars to see trains before they approach. 

Train engineers should also be properly trained on how to avoid accidents. Even if a person decides to go to sleep on a pair of train tracks, the train operator is not at liberty to simply run them over. A train operator must scan the track ahead and take action if there is a pedestrian on the track. This will include sounding the trains horn as well as applying the brakes. If a train company or city was negligent and contributed to an accident they could be held liable. 

The family of any victim that died in an accident with a SMART train may have legal recourse through California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Damages in a civil claim can help a victim’s next of kin with funeral costs, medical bills, lost wages and emotional trauma. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your rights are. They can help make sure that evidence is being preserved and that your rights are being protected. 

Getting More Information About A SMART Train Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Gary Raymond Danning. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened. It is our sincere hope that SMART and city officials will work together to make this intersection safer. If steps aren’t taken this could easily happen again. 

If you or someone that you care about has been involved in a train accident you may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We can investigate your case free of cost and let you know if a city or train company is liable for an accident. Whether you need a free, independent investigation into a particular accident or just have questions about your rights we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

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