Two men were walking on the tracks of a railroad bridge at 3 a.m., when they were struck and killed by a train in Defiance, Ohio. The train accident occurred on a double-track bridge with a curve, which allegedly is what prevented the train's crew from seeing anyone on the tracks until it was too late. The role of alcohol was initially suspected, as the men were walking the tracks at 3 a.m., but the issue is still pending investigation.
Knowingly entering or remaining on railroad property without the railroad's permission violates trespass laws; trespass laws generally make it unlawful to enter on another's property without permission. According to trespass laws dealing with railroads, under Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS), not all courts view liability the same way. A railroad is sometimes held to the requirement of reasonable care toward trespassers, where other courts say a railroad owes no duty to a trespasser.
Some courts will further say a railroad has no duty to a trespasser except to refrain from wantonly, willfully, recklessly, or grossly negligently injuring him/her and that the railroad must use reasonable care once a trespasser is discovered; this basically means once a trespasser is discovered, or should have been discovered, a railroad has a duty to exercise reasonable care in ensuring the person is not further injured.
In Missouri train accident cases, no reported case has found a landowner liable to an injured adult trespasser. Missouri courts also limit liability in those cases involving trespassers under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances, finding a landowner is not liable under such circumstances. Further, under Missouri law (V.A.M.S. § 537.349) in relation to trespassers who are under the influence of alcohol while trespassing on railroad property, the same was held as stated below: