About two dozen veterans and their spouses were sitting in chairs on a parade float set up on the back of a flatbed tractor-trailer decorated with American flags and signs identifying each veteran. They were headed toward a banquet honoring the veterans in Midland, Texas. A banner across the truck’s front bumper read, “Heroes on Board.”
As the truck crossed railroad tracks, the passengers noticed that a train was quickly approaching. In the panic, many jumped off the trailer. The float was among two flat-bed trucks carrying veterans and their spouses. The first truck safely crossed the railroad tracks, but the second truck’s trailer was hit by the train. Two people died at the scene, while two others died at Midland Memorial Hospital.
Early reports indicate that the eastbound Union Pacific Railroad freight train was traveling at approximately 62 miles per hour. The Dallas Morning News has reported that a Texas Department of Transportation official said the crossing was designed for trains that went up to 25 mph, but trains now travel on that line at up to 70 mph. According to the TxDOT official, the state expected the railroad to upgrade its safety mechanism to match the greater speeds, but had not verified whether changes were made.
A lawsuit has now been filed by two veterans and their wives, and one of the attorneys involved says he expects other veterans to join it. The lawsuit was filed promptly because steps needed to be taken quickly to preserve evidence. The lawsuit claims negligence and recklessness on the part of Union Pacific Railroad Inc. and Smith Industries Inc., the company that owned the truck, led to the collision.
The suit alleges Union Pacific was negligent in several ways, ranging from failing to give proper warnings of an oncoming train to providing a safe crossing, and failing to issue an order to slow railway traffic approaching the crossing. According to the suit, the crossing gates came down after the float had entered the crossing, striking several people on the float.
If you have been injured, or a loved one has been injured or killed, in a railroad crossing accident, contact the Board Certified trial attorneys* at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. We have represented victims of railroad crossing accidents and have the experience and expertise to get you the compensation you deserve. To receive a free legal consultation and find out if you are eligible to file a case, please call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on this page.
* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.