On Tuesday National Transportation Safety Board investigators were back on the scene to re-create the accident in Midland where a train slammed into a parade float that was crossing the tracks. The accident left four veterans dead and several others injured.
A flat bed tractor trailer similar to the one carrying the veterans during the parade was put in place on the tracks. A train was placed farther down the tracks for sight test to see at what point the trailer was visible. Slowly the engineer drove the train up to the trailer as crews tried to determine the exact point of impact.
As crews took pictures and mapped out the re-created scene, attorney Bob Pottroff stood watching. He was recently hired by several of the veterans' families who were on the float during the accident.
"I think we have to hold freight rail roads, one of the biggest corporations, accountable for public safety. We have to change their mindset that it's not their responsibility," Pottroff said.
Pottroff says the real issue is the length of warning time from the moment the crossing lights and guard rails are activated to when the train actually crosses the intersection. He says currently there was only a 20 second warning; the minimum allowed by law.
He also says several years ago the speed limit changed allowing the trains to go faster through town, and with those speeds he feels the warning time should have also increased. "When they jacked up their speeds up from 40 to 70 they should have extended their approach circuit almost twice the distance. I've seen no evidence this has occurred," he said.
We contacted the media spokesperson for the NTSB, but they would not comment on Tuesday's investigation.
Also on Tuesday the City of Midland released new information through a statement saying the city never received a permit from the event organizers to hold the parade. Since it is an ongoing investigation the City would not comment any further.
We also contacted the Union Pacific spokesperson. They say the company was never notified there was a parade going through that intersection on that day.
As of right now no lawsuits have been filed.
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