4 dead, 17 hurt when train hits Texas vets parade

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

Two people died at the scene of the crash, while two others died at Midland Memorial Hospital, City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout said. Seven of those injured are in critical condition, while the 10 others are in stable condition, he said.

“There is going to be a very thorough investigation,” Lange said. “It’s obviously a very tragic incident.”

Photos of the float taken during the parade show about two dozen people seated in chairs set up on the back of a flatbed tractor-trailer decorated with American flags and signs identifying each veteran. A banner across the truck’s front bumper reads, “Heroes on Board.”

The float was among two flat-bed trucks carrying veterans and their spouses, police said. The first truck safely crossed the railroad tracks, but the second truck’s trailer was hit by the train. Police said some of the people on the second trailer were able to evacuate before the crash.

The parade was to end at a “Hunt for Heroes” banquet honoring the veterans. The wounded service members were then going to be treated to a deer-hunting trip this weekend. The events have been canceled.

Lange said Union Pacific is offering help to the community and victims’ families, as well as peer-to-peer counseling for the train crew, who did not sustain any injuries.

“It’s pretty traumatic for them,” he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

Midland is about 320 miles west of Dallas.

———

Associated Press James Beltran contributed to this report from Dallas.

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Hot weather takes toll on young Christmas trees

The effect is likely to be felt in the years to come when they would have been cut.

Most Read