A freight train crashed into a wounded veterans' parade float in west Texas yesterday, killing four people and wounding 17. At least one of the wounded is still in critical condition; 11 have been released from the hospital, officials say. The float had been carrying 25 people—mainly veterans and their spouses—from a hotel to a banquet, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reports. It was hit as it crossed train tracks, though the crossing gate and lights were working, according to an initial investigation.
Two trucks were carrying veterans, and one made it across the tracks safely before the other was hit. "The train honked its horn, but the 18-wheeler could not go anywhere because of the other one being right in front of it," a nearby driver tells the AP. Says a local sheriff: "It was pandemonium at the point of impact. Some (of the veterans) tried to jump and protect each other, their girlfriends and their wives."