Though this was supposed to be a celebration, it soon became a tragedy when two flat-bed trucks, carrying wounded veterans and their families to a banquet, were crossing a set of train tracks. The first flat-bed cleared the tracks, but right as the second began to go through the crossing an eastbound Union Pacific train slammed into the truck.
Four of the veterans on the float were killed and 16 others were injured. As of Friday afternoon, 5 of the injured were still in the hospital with only one person listed on critical condition.
Early Friday, officials from the NTSB arrived in Midland to investigate the cause of the accident. A representative from Union Pacific said that the crossing gate and lights were in working order.
At the time of impact, the train was only traveling at 70 mph and the driver had applied the emergency brakes, but not soon enough to avoid a collision.
Investigators are hoping the train’s black box will reveal more information about the cause of the accident, but it can take months before the NTSB is able to pinpoint the cause.
The parade was organized by a local group as way to salute local veterans. Besides the parade events for the day included a banquet and a weekend deer hunt for veterans, but they were canceled.
Train crossings and tracks can be dangerous so drivers or pedestrians should pay careful attention when driving across tracks or walking along them.
Any time a person loses their life or are killed in an accident, there is a chance that negligence played a part. When victims have medical bills and other related costs to worry about, they have the choice to hire an accident lawyer to seek compensation from the negligent party or work to maximize the settlement offered by an insurance company.