One cannot look online or read a newspaper without seeing an article about the tragic accident in Midland, Texas. Numerous war veterans and their spouses were riding on a parade float being pulled by a semi-truck when it was hit by a train. Four veterans lost their lives and several other people were injured. As the victims and their families try to put their lives back together, investigators are trying to determine what caused this tragic accident.
One of the things they will examine is the train itself. Was it working properly? Did the horn sound at the appropriate time, at the right volume, for the length of time required? Were the brakes and other components of the train in working order? They will question the conductors and engineers who were on board when the train crash occurred about what they witnessed and if they noticed anything that may have contributed to the crash.
Investigators will also examine the tracks and crossing gates. Initial reports are stating that the lights were flashing and the crossing gate bells were ringing before the truck attempted to cross the tracks. But witnesses say they don't think the crossing signals and gates are activated soon enough to allow enough time for the gates to be completely down before the train crosses the intersection. News reports have discussed that the speed of the trains at this crossing has increased over the years, and maybe the gates have not been adjusted to take this change into account.
The investigators will also thoroughly investigate the truck that was pulling the float when the accident occurred. The truck was donated by a local Texas company and was driven by a fellow military veteran. The driver of the truck will be interviewed and his background will be checked to make sure he had the proper training to be driving the truck. He will most likely be asked if he heard the warning bells at the crossing or saw the flashing lights or gates. The company that owned the truck will be questioned as well.
Nothing the investigators find will bring the veterans back. But it may offer some closure to their families who were left wondering "How could this have happened?" Compensation received from an insurance claim or wrongful death lawsuit can cover the expenses that resulted from the accident as well as the day-to-day bills that are going unpaid due to lost income. If it is determined that the railroad crossing was a factor, changes can be made to help ensure that this type of tragedy does not happen in that location again.
Being a Kentucky personal injury law firm, we at Miller & Falkner help people recover from their injuries and losses, yet we still cannot imagine what these families are going through. The men and women who were injured or killed were heroes and the spouses that stood behind those heroes. Our hearts go out to them and their families.
Parade where vets killed used route for 3 years; Associated Press; Juan Carlos Llorca; November 19, 2012