For the first time since the tragic accident in which a train crashed into a parade float in Midland last November, federal authorities have released some of the information from their investigation. Previously, we had heard that the train that hit a flatbed truck was traveling around 62 mph and that all warning systems appeared to be in working order.
The collision killed 4 parade participants and injured countless more people.
According to the NTSB’s notes, the truck driver apparently did not see the train approaching. He told investigators that he was looking into a rear-view mirror to try to drive smoothly over a bump in the railway crossing. Although he saw the train to his right, he said that it didn’t appear to be moving.
When he saw his passengers jumping off of the flatbed truck and fleeing, he looked back up and saw flashing lights just as the train hit the float.
Based on these facts, it seems likely that the driver may have been at fault for what happened. Drivers have an obligation, no matter the circumstances, to operate a vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. That duty almost certainly required this driver to monitor his surroundings for trains while he crossed the tracks.
Source: The Miami Herald, “Float driver says train seemed still before crash,” Juan Carlos Llorca and Betsy Blaney, May 22, 2013