Testimony Starts At Midland Trial: Veterans Suing Over Deadly 2012 Accident

Union Pacific railway and military veterans involved in the deadly collision of a freight train with a parade float in 2012 are now facing off in a Midland court room.

On day one of testimony (Wednesday 28 Jan 2015) the court heard about the service the four veterans who were killed gave to their country.

They’ re Marine Gary Stouffer, Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, retired Army Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin and Army Sgt. Joshua Michael.

Michael earned two two Purple Hearts in Iraq. He threw his wife off a float as it was struck. Veterans and some relatives are suing the railway alleging it was negligent in operating the railroad crossing where its train hit a float.

There originally were 43 plaintiffs but eight families reached a pre-trial settlement with the railroad.

Lawyers for the remaining 17 plaintiffs say Union Pacific had short warning signal times at the crossing and did not properly maintain it. The National Transportation Safety Board says crossing signals were working at the time. The railway believes other parties, the city, law enforcement

NTSB says the likely cause was the failure of the city and parade organizers to identify the risk of crossing the tracks.

The trial’s expected to last 6 weeks.

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