Deadly Midland Train Crash Unfolded In Just 20 Seconds

The harrowing crash in Midland that killed four veterans unfolded in just 20 seconds, according to a timeline released by federal investigators.


MIDLAND (November 18, 2012)--The harrowing train crash in Midland that killed four Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were riding on a trailer after a parade unfolded in a rapid-fire 20 seconds from the time the crossing bells and lights activated to the collision.

Sixteen people were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a detailed timeline Saturday, pieced together from video images on the train, a sheriff's car and the train's equivalent of a black box.

A group called Show of Support organized the parade.

Group member Michael McKinney said the truck was donated.

According to the timeline, the truck entered the crossing after the warning lights had gone off.

The veterans and their spouses had only seconds to jump off.

At the same time, the train conductor pulled the emergency brake in an attempt to come to a screeching halt.

NTSB member Mark Rosekind said the signals activated seven seconds before the float crossed the tracks.

He said the train started sounding its horn nine seconds before it hit the float.

Several hundred people fathered Saturday for a vigil in downtown Midland, lighting white candles and praying for the victims' families and the community as a whole.

The town square was lined with American flags.

Midland Mayor Wes Perry told the crowd that "the next few days will be tough but when we get to the other side, it will be better."

Ministers prayed for the community to have strength in wake of the tragedy.

City Manager Courtney Sharp says Midland is "grieving and in pain."

A funeral will be held in Amarillo for an Army sergeant who saved his wife, Daylyn, from the catastrophic crash and was killed in the collision.

Family spokesman Cory Rogers told the Amarillo Globe News the funeral for Army Sgt. Joshua Michael will likely be after Thanksgiving, but didn't give a time or location for the services.

Daylyn Michael's mother Mary Hefley says Michael shoved his wife from the float just before impact, saving her life.

The couple has two children.

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