Doomed Parade Float Used Tried-and-True Route

Floats had followed same one for 3 years

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 19, 2012 8:51 AM CST

(Newser) – Organizers of the parade in West Texas in which four US military veterans were killed when a train plowed into a truck had been using the same route for three years, investigators said yesterday. The NTSB says the company that owned the truck is cooperating with investigators, who expect to interview the driver today. It's believed the truck began crossing the train tracks even though warning bells were sounding and lights were flashing, but some Midland residents say they believe the signal time is too short.

They say the guardrails aren't completely down by the time 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," says a resident who lives blocks from the track and says he crosses it daily. The NTSB will conduct a sight test, probably tomorrow, to try to determine what the train engineer could see leading up to the crash. Two of the injured were still at a Midland hospital as of yesterday afternoon, one in critical condition and another in stable condition.

A flag flies at the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
A flag flies at the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
People gather in Centennial Plaza in Midland, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 for a candlelight vigil held in honor of four veterans who were killed when a freight train hit a parade float Thursday.
People gather in Centennial Plaza in Midland, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 for a candlelight vigil held in honor of four veterans who were killed when a freight train hit a parade float Thursday.   (James Durbin)
A flag is left at the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
A flag is left at the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
A railroad investigator talks on the phone at the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
A railroad investigator talks on the phone at the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.   (JCLRP)
Railroad investigators work the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
Railroad investigators work the scene of the accident in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
About 200 people attend a candlelight vigil held at Centennial Plaza in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
About 200 people attend a candlelight vigil held at Centennial Plaza in Midland, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.   (Edward A. Ornelas)
From left: Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47; Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43.
From left: Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47; Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43.   (Uncredited)
Railroad investigators work the scene of an accident where four veterans were killed and 16 people were injured when a train slammed into a parade float carrying the returning heroes to a banquet.
Railroad investigators work the scene of an accident where four veterans were killed and 16 people were injured when a train slammed into a parade float carrying the returning heroes to a banquet.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
Federal investigators were trying to determine whether the two-float parade had been given enough warning to clear the tracks.
Federal investigators were trying to determine whether the two-float parade had been given enough warning to clear the tracks.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
5%
4%
5%
73%
3%
11%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   HitFix   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   CollegeHumor   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!