Sadly, the crash has left four dead and at least 10 of the victims are in critical condition.
According to The Daily Mail:
At least four people have died and 17 were injured in west Texas after a freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans for a charity benefit.
The veterans and their wives were seated on the flat beds of two tractor trailer rigs that paraded through downtown Midland, Texas, for a ‘Show of Support’ banquet in their honor.
As the two trailers crossed the train tracks, a Union Pacific train suddenly appeared, barreling down the tracks about 4.30pm on Thursday.
The first float pulled ahead and successfully clear the tracks, but the second float, still filled with people, was smashed by the locomotive.
Two people died at the scene. Two more died at the hospital. Ten of the victims are in critical condition. Eight are stable.
‘It was pandemonium at the point of impact. Some (of the veterans) tried to jump and protect each other, their girlfriends and their wives,’ Sheriff Gary Painter told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
The overwhelmed staff at Midland Memorial Hospital have begun asking the community for blood donations and set up an emergency donation center in the city, KWES-TV reports.
Event organizers say 24 veterans and their spouses were on the trailers, en route from a downtown hotel to a banquet in their honor, according to the newspaper.
The eastbound train was sounding its horn before it hit the float, 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.
However, witnesses reported that the crossing arms never lowered at the intersection, leaving the truck driver and the veterans completely off guard.
The parade was meant to kick off a weekend of celebration for the veterans, who were supposed to go on an all-expense-paid whitetail deer hunting trip this weekend, while their wives were treated to a weekend out on the town.
Those events have been canceled as the community reels from the disaster.
While we’re keeping all involved in our thoughts, we can’t help but wonder who the hell planned the parade without checking the damn train schedule!?!?
Images via AP