Tests Show Train Warnings Worked at Texas Crash Site

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MIDLAND, Tex. -- Federal investigators said Sunday that testing showed the railroad crossing's warning system of lights, bells and arm gates at the site of a deadly train collision here was functioning properly at the time of the accident.

Four people were killed and several were injured when a Union Pacific freight train and a truck carrying 12 veterans and their spouses collided on Thursday during the annual Show of Support parade.

National Transportation Safety Board officials identified the company that owned the truck as Smith Industries of Midland. Investigators have been focusing, in part, on the actions of the truck as it approached the rail crossing. They said video and mechanical data showed that the truck tried to cross the tracks seconds after the warning system came on and as the arm gates began to lower.

The investigation has also raised questions about how the train crew responded to the passing parade. Officials said that the train engineer sounded the horn nine seconds before the collision and that the emergency brake was applied five seconds before impact. The train was traveling at 62 miles per hour.

Texas railroad crossings are the second-deadliest in the country. Accidents at public and private rail crossings killed 86 people in Texas from 2009 to August 2012, according to federal railroad data. Only California had more deaths -- 111 -- during the same period.

Two lawyers who represent one of the veterans injured in the crash said they planned to hold a news conference at the Midland County Courthouse on Monday.

nation

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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