Families Of Veterans Killed In Midland Train Accident Turn To US Supreme Court
/ CBS DFW
MIDLAND (CBSDFW.COM) — The families of veterans killed in the 2012 Midland train crash filed a lawsuit today asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case claiming it could impact rail safety nationwide.
The I-Team has followed this case from the beginning obtaining records years ago which showed Union Pacific, the state, and the city of Midland agreed in 1991 that there should be at least a 30-second warning at the Midland crossing; however, when the truck pulling that flatbed trailer of veterans on a parade route crossed the tracks seven years ago, the driver only received a 20.4 second warning with lights and signals before the freight train crashed into it.
Union Pacific has long argued the warnings on that deadly day more than exceeded newer 20-second federal requirements. And, for years, Texas courts have agreed.
Now, the families are turning to a petition and a Facebook page saying Union Pacific is not supporting veterans.
A recent post accuses Union Pacific of promoting "Itself as an all-American, red, white and blue kind of company" but says the "Company's actions...Led directly to the deaths of some American heroes" and "It's time...To take care" of them.
Today's filing to the U.S. Supreme Court claims that Texas courts have nullified that original federal mandate for the longer warning time and this could impact safety at 250,000 crossing across the country.
A Union Pacific spokesperson sent the I-Team the following statement:
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Administration found Union Pacific's signal equipment was working as intended and complied with the applicable federal regulations. Additionally, the NTSB found Union Pacific was not the cause of the accident, but rather the parade organizers, the City of Midland and Midland County. A Texas trial court and the Court of Appeals ruled Union Pacific complied with federal law and was not legally responsible for this tragic accident, and the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Filing with the U.S. Supreme Court is the plaintiffs' final opportunity to appeal the trial court's decision.
Veterans are a critical part of our company, bringing unique experience and skills. We've consistently supported the military throughout Union Pacific's more than 155-year history. Today, more than 17% of employees have military experience, with some still active in the National Guard or Reserves. In the last five years, 24 percent of new hires were veterans. In addition to hiring, Union Pacific is proud to support troops in a variety of ways, such as through the Wounded Warrior Project.