Our Chicago train accident attorneysare unfortunately used to dealing with fatal and avoidable train accidents. Even we were shocked, however, by the scope of the tragedy in the train accident in Midland Texas this Veterans’ Day.
At the Veterans’ Day parade in Midland this year, a float bearing injured veterans and their spouses was struck by a train. The veterans on the float were headed for a post-parade dinner banquet in their honor.
The accident left at least four veterans dead, and sixteen people injured. Many of the injuries were severe. Others who were on the float saw the train coming and were able to escape by jumping off. One of the slain veterans saved the life of his wife by throwing her from the float, although he did not have time to escape.
The accident occurred when the float, which was the last in the parade, pulled onto the tracks. As it was crossing, the warning signals began to sound. Witnesses reported that the guard rails lowered onto the flat-bed truck carrying the float.
Although federal investigators have not yet completed their report, it appears that the float started across the tracks before the float in front of it had moved off. The professional driver of the semi-truck is thus under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board in connection with the accident, which the NTSB is treating as a trucking accident due to the involvement of a professional company and driver (although the truck was donated for the event). If the initial reports prove true, the victims and their families may have legal claims against the driver and/or the trucking company.
Although it is likely that the parade atmosphere contributed to the neglect of basic safety precautions, this accident serves as an important reminder for all: never move your vehicle onto railroad tracks until there is room to exit the tracks on the other side. The failure to follow this basic safety rule has lead to countless Chicago-area train accidents, which have themselves cost many lives.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago train accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.