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UPDATE: Four dead, 17 injured after train collides with parade float - Odessa American: Vehicle Accidents

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UPDATE: Four dead, 17 injured after train collides with parade float

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Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 5:30 pm | Updated: 10:11 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

11:58 The correct tally is 4 wounded and 16 injured. City officials mistakenly increased the number of injured earlier, which hospital officials attributed to confusion as parade attendees and loved ones kept showing up to the hospital but not seeking treatment.

9:20 @OAcrime: "This might be one of the most tragic events we've ever had in our town," says Midland Mayor Wes Perry.

9:17 p.m.: @OAcrime: Midland Police Chief Price Robinson said two of the 10 people injured in critical condition were transported to Lubbock. An unspecified number of the seven people in stable condition were released.

8 P.M.: @OAcourts: City of Midland news release states two flat bed trucks were traveling southbound on Garfield, one cleared tracks, other didn't. The trucks were carrying soldiers and their wives. Some were able to evacuate second truck. Midland Mayor Wes Perry will be making statement at Midland Police Department momentarily.

7:38 P.M.: @OAcrime: Upstairs on the landing upstairs there were people huddled around, some hugging and others talking about contacting loved ones. I was just up there for a moment. Most people are in the ballroom, a friend of a participant told me. While I was at the scene I talked to an 11 year old boy who had been watching the parade with his little brother and sister.

He said "I saw the things (railroad crossings) come down until they hit some persons then they went back up. No bells were ringing or anything." 

"People were stuck up on the windshield and it was nasty. My little brother was crying and my little sister almost was crying," he said. 

"It was sad because there were some people, some girls ran off. There were also people under the train. I just heard people like screaming," he said.

@OAcourts: There seems to be disagreement as to whether gates and bells were activated. Union Pacific says eyewitness reports confirm they were. Some eyewitnesses at scene say no. UP also says train horn was activated on approach.                   

7:12 P.M.: Michael Morris in the Hunt for Heroes said people were calling commands to inform them of the tragedy. He said a good friend died.

"I've been through five combat tours, and this is worse than probably, getting blown up" he said. He said he didn't want to talk anymore and went up to the ballroom, where people are grieving

6:50 p.m.: Union Pacific spokesman Tom Lange said the railroad company has support staff on the way to the site of the accident.

"It's obviously a very tragic incident and I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the victims," Lange said.

In the preliminary investigation by the railroad company, Lange said eyewitness reports confirm that the lights and gates were functional at the crossing. He said the train was going eastbound when the train and tractor-trailer collided.

However, Lange said the investigation is still in the early stages. He said a recording device similar to a black box on an airplane, which records specific performances by the train, can be recovered after an accident and used to determine for sure whether those processes were working.

"We will have a variety of operations people there to help with a thorough investigation," Lange said.

City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout also updated some injury numbers: 10 in stable condition, seven in critical condition at Midland Memorial Hospital. Of course, two were pronounced dead at the scene and two were pronounced dead at MMH.

6:22 P.M.: Chief: This is so big it's going to take a while to get all the information together.

There is also an update on those injured: 10 are critical and 7 stable (someone hadn't been counted at the hospital).

There are numerous agencies on scene of the crash, including DPS, homeland security, the Midland Sheriff's Office and the Midland Police Department. 

"There were some that were able to make it off the flatbed before the train struck. Others weren't so fortunate," City of Midland representative Tina Jauz said.

A woman who lives nearby said power had been out in the area since about 3 p.m., and said she wondered if that prevented crossing posts from dropping. That hasn't been confirmed and the investigation is ongoing.

@OAcrime: Tina Jauz with the City of Midland said the last two floats of the Hunt for Heroes parade were crossing southbound. The first one made it but the second one didn't. Jauz said soldiers and their wives were on these floats

@OAcrime: There are 16 people critically injured out of the 18 transported. Two people were dead on scene, and two died at the hospital.

According to the chief of the Midland Police Department there were 4 fatalities and 16 injured in the train and parade float collision in Midland.

There were two confirmed fatalities and multiple injuries in the train crash during the Hunt for Heroes parade, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. 

The train collided with a trailer full of veterans during the parade just before 5 p.m., the Midland Reporter-Telegram stated. 

The Midland Fire Department and Midland Police Department are on the scene of a collision between a train and an 18-wheeler, which was a float for Hunt for Heroes, at Industrial and Garfield in Midland.

"Obviously we have a really bad situation out there and we're just trying to wrap our arms around it and get the facts," Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said. 

Espinoza also said that their first priority is to help those on the scene. 

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