Train accident kills four at Veterans Day Parade in Midland Texas.

| November 15, 2012 | 19 Comments

This is from a facebook a repost from our friends at Stolen Valor. According to Fox News a train struck a float that was crossing. At least four people are believed dead and seventeen injured.

A freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans on Thursday, killing four people and injuring 17 others as the float 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.

The float that was hit was carrying veterans and their spouses. This is bad all around for everyone. We should know more after the investigation is complete. In the mean time Union Pacific is vowing to help the survivors and community through this tragedy.

Category: Blue Skies, Veterans Issues

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  1. Thor says:

    There is NO legitimate excuse for this unless the train engineer was asleep and those participating in the parade were oblivious to the oncoming train.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    I don’t think we should speculate until we know a lot more.

  3. Jabatam says:

    Thor I’d be more willing to bet it was on the float operators because trains are strictly regulated. They have very specific speed limits within a defined distance from a city. Plus, as I’m sure you know, they cannot stop quickly by any means. It is possible though that there was negligence on the part of the operator but, from my perspective (with no sources to back this up), it seems that all the accidents I’ve ever heard or read about was the fault of motorists.

    It doesn’t really matter because, in the end, there are still families that have been torn apart by this and that is very tragic

  4. Claymore says:

    From what I saw this morning, the float driver stopped on the crossing and when the arms came down, he couldn’t get the people in front or behind to move, so they got smashed by the train. Horrible accident.

  5. Hondo says:

    Crossing barriers and lights are there for a damn good reason. Under almost all conditions, a train literally cannot stop in time if someone tries to cross in front of it and underestimates the time required.

  6. Hondo says:

    Claymore: that points out two ironclad rules applicable to RR crossings:

    1. Never race a train to a crossing or drive around a crossing barrier. The train cannot stop in time if you misjudge things or stall.
    2. If you don’t have space to clear the crossing, do not enter. If you get trapped on the crossing, you’re toast.

  7. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    The victims were not merely Veterans but wounded Veterans. I’m trying to understand this but I cannot. It hurts too much.

  8. OWB says:

    Horrible, just horrible for all involved.

  9. Common Sense says:

    Just a horrible tragedy, heartbreaking.

    “If you don’t have space to clear the crossing, do not enter. If you get trapped on the crossing, you’re toast.”

    We have lots of tracks and crossings in our neighborhood, 3 of the main lines through Colorado go through, plus the spur to the Coors Brewery. My kids were taught crossing safety from a young age. There was one crossing we went through almost daily that had a stop light on the other side, going downhill. Despite the many posted warnings about not stopping on the tracks, someone always would. We never did see an accident, but always held our breaths until the light changed and the idiot got across the tracks. It’s a rule my kids, all adults now, will never forget.

  10. Rock8 says:

    My prayers to all involved. Being a Locomotive Engineer is my craft, and I cannot fathom having to face this scenario. And being licensed to drive tractor-trailers in the Reserves I can tell you the two actions that would have prevented this tragedy:

    NEVER enter a grade crossing unless you are clear to proceed all the way through.

    Stop, look & listen before entering any crossing.

    I am sharing this so that you guys can share with your family, friends, and your kids learning to drive: Every train/road collision is preventable by the driver of the lighter, more agile vehicle.

  11. Poetrooper says:

    Here’s a link to the local Odessa American newspaper coverage:

    http://www.oaoa.com/news/article_c7f2f8f8-2fb3-11e2-9c2d-001a4bcf6878.html

    They identify three sergeant majors and one sergeant as the dead.

  12. Miss Ladybug says:

    When I took driver’s ed in high school, they had a couple of train engineers come talk to us. I remember the things they told us, to include what to do if you find yourself in a vehicle stuck on the tracks (you could get stuck even if you didn’t break the rules mentioned above, cars can stall…) and you see a train coming:

    (1) get out of the vehicle
    (2) run towards the train and away from the tracks

    (1) is a no-brainer, but enough people don’t consider the physics behind (2); some people have done (1) but not (2) and end up getting hit by the debris…

  13. Ex-PH2 says:

    This was in the afternoon news on the internet:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/16/15219024-wounded-vet-dies-saving-wife-on-parade-float-in-texas-train-accident?lite

    I have always stopped at railroad crossings and looked both ways, even if they have the crossing arms and lights. I’ve had a car stall on the tracks and refuse to restart, so I got out and pushed it off the crossing about five minutes ahead of the bells starting to ring.

    3 rules:

    STOP

    LOOK BOTH WAYS

    LISTEN

    If your car stalls and you see a train coming, either push your car off the tracks or abandon it.

  14. PintoNag says:

    Anybody know anything about the driver pulling the float?

    ’cause Lucy’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  15. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Hondo, in my soccer work one of the administrators is an engineer with CSX he told me that they hit a semi- tractor trailer truck recently while pulling 150 cars weighing in at 850,000 TONS…they saw the truck one mile away and hit the brakes…the train stopped 7 miles after hitting the truck and destroying it and the contents of the trailer behind it.

  16. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    “Several hundred people turned up at the United Blood Services donation center in north Midland to donate after staff reopened Thursday night in light of the fatal accident involving the Show of Support parade float, said Lee Hartmann, local director for United Blood Services.

    Hartman added the line of donors during the night stretched throughout the parking lot and wrapped the building.”

    http://www.mywesttexas.com/editors_picks/article_941d24fc-2f92-11e2-b75f-0019bb2963f4.html

  17. Hondo says:

    VOV: Doesn’t surprise me one bit, amigo. KE = 0.5 * M * V^2.

    It takes quite a bit of time for friction to turn the kinetic energy of 850,000 tons moving at, say, 11.11 m/sec (40 km/hr, or around 25 mi/hr) into heat.

  18. WigWam says:

    Heads should roll for this. Who’s decision at Show of Support was to take a route that crosses the tracks and not check if there were trains running on it? They closed down the roads and were provided with a police escort, why couldn’t they have enough foresight to check a train schedule? Veterans deserve better than this

  19. Jack d Howard says:

    Being a disabled combat Vet myself this accident, no matter who’s at fault is heartbreaking . They were still hero’s, even as veterans.

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