MIDLAND, Texas Four veterans were killed and 16 other people were injured after a train slammed into a parade float carrying the returning heroes to a banquet to honor them in west Texas, officials said Friday.
A float decorated with American flags and carrying wounded veterans and their spouses to a banquet in west Texas took the full force of the train at a railroad crossing. Some people managed to jump clear as the train, with its horn blasting, bore down on the float decorated with American flags Thursday afternoon.
Horrified spectators at the parade could only watch as the carnage unfolded.
“The train honked its horn, but the 18-wheeler could not go anywhere because of the other one [truck] being right in front of it,” said Daniel Quinonez, who was waiting in his vehicle as the parade went by. “It was a horrible accident to watch happen right in front of me. I just saw the people on the semi-truck’s trailer panic, and many started to jump off the trailer. But it was too late for many of them.”
Early Friday, Midland city spokesman Ryan Stout said 37-year-old Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer and 47-year-old Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin were dead at the scene. Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, were pronounced dead later at Midland Memorial Hospital.
Police confirmed the identities of the dead. Of the 16 others hurt in the crash, four are in stable condition and one is critical. Ten others were treated and released from the hospital.