4 killed, 17 injured when train slams parade float carrying wounded veterans
MIDLAND, Texas — A freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans on Thursday, killing four people and injuring 17 others as the float crossed a West Texas railroad crossing on its way to an honorary banquet, authorities said.
The eastbound train was sounding its horn before it hit the float around 4:40 p.m. in Midland, Union Pacific spokesman Tom Lange said. A preliminary investigation indicates the crossing gate and lights were working at the time, Lange said, though he didn't know if the train crew saw the float approaching.
Two people died at the scene of the crash, while two others died at Midland Memorial Hospital, City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout said. Ten of those injured are in critical condition, while the other seven are stable, he said.
“There is going to be a very thorough investigation,” Lange said. “It's obviously a very tragic incident.”
Photos of the float taken during the parade show about two dozen people seated in chairs set up on the back of a flatbed tractor-trailer decorated with American flags. A banner across the truck's front bumper reads, “Heroes on Board.”
Police said the float was among two flat-bed trucks carrying veterans and their spouses. The first truck safely crossed the railroad tracks, but the second truck's trailer was hit by the train. Some of the people riding on the second trailer evacuated before the crash, police said.
The parade was to end at a “Hunt for Heroes” banquet honoring the veterans. The wounded service members were then going to be treated to a deer-hunting trip this weekend. The events have been canceled.
Lange said Union Pacific is offering help to the community and victims' families, as well as peer-to-peer counseling for the train crew, who did not sustain any injuries.
“It's pretty traumatic for them,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.
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.
- A bipartisan push on toxic chemicals makes some Democrats fume
- 7 shot at Florida spring-break house party
- Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Republican presidential hopefuls near-unanimity on the issue of their own guns
- Attorneys: Sterilizations were part of plea deal talks
- Pentagon shielded Chilean torture, slaying suspect
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
- Maryland might owe federal government millions for health care exchange
- Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study