Did the Horn Blow in Hale Center? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/19/03

Did the Horn Blow in Hale Center?

The tragedy on the Hale Center tracks Saturday was like lightning striking the Johnson family twice.

"We lost some relatives here before," said Chris Ford.

Compounding the pain, allegations that there was no warning.

"And it (the train) didn't blow, it never blows," said Cora Thornton.

The "W" signs on the tracks stand for "whistle," a safety precaution, a requirement, for trains as they approach intersections. A placard queuing engineers to alert oncoming traffic. A policy, say railroad officials, that was followed, but family members of the victims disagree.

"This is the second time I lost family members," said Cora Thornton. She lost her aunt and cousins. "Yes, and the horn didn't blow. It never blows down here," she said.

"It doesn't blow. I went across the tracks once and the train went right behind me and it didn't blow," said Ford.

"Something has to be done down here," said Anita Gutierrez. She was visiting her mother at the time of the accident. "I heard no whistle, no horn," she said.

At the Johnson household, the yard was filled with condolences tempering grief and anger.

"This is the same thing that's happened before, the same thing," said a family member.

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