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Midland, TX — A town in Texas is mourning the loss of four veterans during a parade accident in which a train struck a Show of Support parade float.

Yesterday evening, the ninth annual Show of Support parade was taking 24 veterans and their spouses and girlfriends from the DoubleTree by Hilton to the Horseshoe in south Midland where the Hunt for Heroes banquet was to be held. Afterwards, the veterans were being treated to an all-expenses paid weekend hunting trip, while their spouses would be treated to a variety of activities in Midland.

The parade float transporting the veterans consisted of two separate flatbed tractor trailer trucks. Each were adorned with American flags with two dozen veterans and their spouses sitting in chairs set up on the back of each flatbed tractor-trailer.

At one point during their route to the Horeshoe, the trucks had to cross over a set of railroad track. Police were reportedly directing traffic as the first truck made it over the tracks but then had to stop. This left the second trailer stuck on the tracks with nowhere to go. That’s also when a Union Pacific Train, traveling at around 60 mph, made an appearance and struck the trailer carrying 26 passengers — 12 vets, 12 spouses, and two civilian escorts.

Witnesses say that some of the passenger tried jumping off the trailer when they saw the train approaching and heard the horn, with some reports detailing vets ignoring their own safety as they threw their spouses to safety.

Sgt Joshua Michael, 34; Sgt Maj Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt Maj Lawrence Boivin, 47, and Sgt Maj William Lubbers, 43 were killed in the crash, two at the scene and two at the hospital, while 16 people were hospitalized. Marcy Madrid, a spokeswoman at Midland Memorial Hospital, said one person was in critical condition and four were in stable condition early Friday.

No word yet on who is going to get the blame for this, as police and The National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating. With the info we have currently, it’s looking like the driver of the truck will be getting a fair share of the blame. From what I’ve read, the train was traveling at its correct speed, and the crossing guard arms\lights were functioning. But even if they weren’t, why would anyone cross over a set of tracks if it isn’t possible to clear them? Especially if they are pulling a trailer carrying 26 people.

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