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Serious and fatal injuries in Texas Veterans day train accident

Four people were killed and more than 16 suffered from serious injuries after a float in a west Texas Veteran's Day parade was hit by an oncoming train. The investigation into the accident is ongoing, but officials say that the float, which was on a flatbed truck, entered the railroad crossing after the warning signals for an approaching train began.

A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board said that once a railroad crossing becomes active and the lights turn on, people and vehicles need to stop and wait until the train has passed. Officials used video footage from the train, a nearby police car, and a data recorder on board the train, to piece together what happened.

After these types of accidents happen, investigators typically look at the equipment involved to see if any malfunction on the train or on the trucks could have been a contributing factor to causing the crash. In this case, officials say that there were no problems with the train or the train's brake system. It is not clear why the truck with the float on it proceeded through the intersection or if there were issues with that vehicle that contributed to the accident.

The accident occurred in Midland, Texas, where residents are now grieving the loss of the four veterans who died in the accident. Approximately 300 people attended a vigil over the weekend, expressing support for the victim's families.

When a tragic accident occurs, victims and their families often search for answers and accountability from whoever the responsible party was. In this case it is not clear if any one person or party was responsible for the accident, but the investigation being conducted by state and federal officials may reveal more information. Some families who were affected may also choose to pursue a civil action and conduct their own investigation into the facts.

Source: National Public Radio, "Officials: Vets' float crossed track after signals" The Associated Press, Nov. 18, 2012

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