A freight train crashed into a parade float filled with wounded veterans Thursday, killing four veterans and wounding 16 others, news sources report.
The parade float crossed onto the railroad tracks after warning signals went off, investigators said. It was the second flatbed truck of two floats carrying the veterans in Midland, Texas. Some people on the float tried to jump off before the train collided with it, witness said. The military instincts of the veterans kicked into gear as they treated wounded individuals, Fox News reports.
The four veterans that died had served the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. They survived the harsh war of gunshots, explosions, and grenade attacks. They were scheduled to go on a hunting trip and spend the weekend with fellow veterans. Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47; and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, will be remembered by family, friends, and the country, ABC News reports.
Investigators are verifying that organizers had proper permits for the parade, and that there were no mechanical malfunctions such as truck breaks or the freight train breaks. Also using a sight test to determine the visibility the train engineer had prior to the crash, Seattle PI reports.