MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - Officials say four veterans were killed and 16 other people were hurt after a freight train slammed into a parade float stuck on a railroad crossing in West Texas.
Midland city spokesman Ryan Stout says 37-year-old Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer and 47-year-old Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin died at the scene of the accident Thursday afternoon. Stout says 34-year-old Army Sgt. Joshua Michael and 43- year-old Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers died later at Midland Memorial Hospital.
Sixteen others were hurt in the crash. Four are in stable condition and one is critical. Ten others were treated and released from the hospital.
Federal officials are helping with the investigation. Witnesses described a harrowing scene as the Union Pacific locomotive beard down on the decorated flatbed truck as it tried to clear the rail crossing on its way to an honorary banquet.
The train was sounding its horn and people on the flatbed truck - mostly wounded veterans and their spouses - were scrambling to jump off before the collision in Midland, according to witnesses and Union Pacific spokesman Tom Lange.
A preliminary investigation indicates the crossing gate and lights were working, Lange said, though he didn't know if the train crew saw the float approaching.
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