Deadly Texas parade on usual route
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 9:40 p.m.
MIDLAND, Texas — Organizers of a parade in West Texas in which four military veterans were killed when a train plowed into a truck had been using the same route for three years, investigators said on Sunday.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Mark Rosekind also announced that oilfield services company Smith Industries was the owner of the truck that served as the float on which the veterans were riding during Thursday's parade in Midland.
Rosekind said the company was cooperating with investigators, who expect to interview the unidentified driver on Monday.
Rick B. Smith, Smith Industries' CEO and president, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Investigators have said the truck began crossing the train tracks, even though warning bells were sounding and lights were flashing. It was the second of two parade floats filled with wounded war veterans. The first float had cleared the tracks when the crash happened.
Four veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were killed and 16 other people were hurt.
According to the NTSB, the warning system was activated 20 seconds before the accident, and the guardrail began to come down seven seconds after that. Rosekind said everything functioned properly, but that investigators would have to make sure the signal timing met the requirements for that crossing.
Some Midland residents said they believe the signal time is too short and that the guardrails are not completely down when a train comes whizzing by.
“The signals come on and the arms go down, but before they are fully down, the train is already at the intersection,” said Mark Thomas, who lives blocks from the track and says he crosses it daily.
The parade was organized by a group called Show of Support-Hunt for Heroes and has been an annual event in Midland for nine years. It was supposed to be the start of a three-day weekend of events in appreciation of the veterans' service.
According to the NTSB, the train sounded its horn nine seconds before the crash. The guardrail hit the truck, and then the engineer pulled the emergency brake, trying to stop the train that was traveling at 62 mph.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Stage volunteer dies following collapse at Pine-Richland High School
- Marcellus shale driller Noble Energy Inc. sinks roots into Pittsburgh
- Penguins notebook: Heralded Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov debuts with Capitals
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Job cuts at AGH part of ‘strategic’ process
- ACC Tournament manages to deliver an inherent history lesson
- Top pitching prospect Taillon’s time with Pirates must wait a bit
- Hempfield couple charged in thefts