Lawyers for train crash victims will inspect evidence
Dec 08, 2012 (Menafn - Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Lawyers suing Union Pacific and Smith Industries of Midland announced they reached an agreement with the companies to inspect evidence in the Nov. 15 train crash that killed four wounded veterans and injured 16 others who were participating in a parade meant to honor them.
The lawyers -- Kevin Glasheen of Lubbock and Bob Pottroff of Manhattan, Kan. -- are representing married couples Heather Sanchez and Sgt. 1st Class Richard Sanchez of El Paso County, Colo., and Staff Sgt. Todd King and Laci King of Bexar County, as well as "several others," who the lawyers have so far declined to name.
Their lawsuit alleges several areas of negligence by the two companies. Accusations include that Union Pacific failed to supply an adequate warning time at the crossing where the accident happened, at South Garfield Street and West Industrial Avenue, and that the Smith Industries truck driver, 50-year-old Dale Andrew Hayden, failed to keep proper lookout as he entered the crossing.
The lawsuit had also called for a temporary injunction to preserve evidence.
The lawyers state in their announcement that they plan to test the signal system at the crossing on Dec. 17. They plan to test the lights and gates system.
"We believe this information will help prove our claim that the railroad failed in its legal duty to maintain the warning time as it was designed," states the announcement.
The crossing, according to a 1991 plan filed with the Texas Department of Transportation, showed it was designed to provide at least 30 seconds warning.
They lawyers also plan to inspect the Smith Industries truck.
And on Dec. 18, they plan to inspect the locomotive and the horn in Fort Worth.
The veterans killed in the tragedy, seated near the middle of the trailer, were Army Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47; Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34; Marine Chief Warrant Officer Gary Stouffer, 37; and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43.
According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, five people were seriously injured, and eight float passengers and the deputy suffered minor injuries.
Contact Corey Paul on Twitter @OAcrime on Facebook at OA Corey Paul or call 432-333-7768.
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