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Veterans and wives file lawsuit after Midland truck-train crash

Houston residents have likely heard the news of a terrible train-truck collision in Midland, Texas. The crash occurred during a parade to honor wounded veterans. As a flatbed truck carrying veterans and their family members crossed a set of train tracks, a Union Pacific train struck the vehicle, killing four veterans and injuring 16 other people.

Since that day, an investigation has been ongoing, and now a lawsuit has been brought by two of the veterans and their wives. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Union Pacific Railroad Inc. and Smith Industries, the company that owned the truck. The lawsuit, which is expected to garner more plaintiffs, alleges that the companies' negligence is to blame for the deaths and injuries.

The plaintiffs seek to hold Union Pacific liable for not providing a timely warning that the train was approaching. The lawsuit also claims that the company did not ensure that the crossing was safe.

A federal investigation has revealed that the flatbed truck carrying the veterans began to cross the plane of the tracks after warning bells were sounded and lights began flashing. The plaintiffs, then, are seeking to hold Smith Industries liable for having a driver who did not exercise due caution.

The Texas Department of Transportation has indicated that the warning system at the train crossing was designed to alert motorists and pedestrians of trains that travel at up to 25 miles per hour. But the Union Pacific trains that travel on those tracks and over that crossing can reach 70 miles per hour. There is also doubt as to whether the warning signals were activated at the right time.

As federal investigators look closer at this matter, the scope of the civil lawsuit may change as well. What is clear is that a tragedy has happened, and innocent people who were hurt want justice in civil court.

Source: kwqc.com, "Veterans sue railroad over fatal crash in Texas," Betsy Blaney and Danny Robbins, Nov. 28, 2012

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