(December 5, 2012)
Nearly three weeks after the tragic collision between a Union Pacific freight train traveling at 62 mph and a semi-trailer truck traveling at 5 mph in a parade honoring wounded veterans at the Garfield Street crossing of UPRR tracks in Midland, TX, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a one-page report Wednesday morning on the agency’s investigation of the November 15 accident which killed four wounded warriors and injured 16 others.
For the first time since the accident, the names of the Pecos, TX-headquartered locomotive engineer and conductor were revealed, with the source being a Midland Police Dept. accident report which heretofore had been closely guarded from news media or public availability. The two UP crewmen involved are Simon Ferrel Terrazas, Jr, 35, and Nathan Scott, 27.
Although the names of the train crew had been unavailable via any source, the name of the truck driver who was operating the parade float had been conveniently leaked by unknown sources over two weeks ago, obviously in a move to divert media attention from the identities of the Union Pacific employees.
Also previously guarded but finally released in the same Midland Police Dept. report was the name of a Midland County Sheriff’s deputy, Edelmira Zamora Subia, 38, who was injured when the flatbed trailer/parade float was flung 30 feet onto the Ford Crown Victoria he was driving as he blocked traffic to allow passage of the parade.
The NTSB report also says that the train proceeded 4,143 feet beyond the crossing before coming to a halt.
The driver of the semi/float, Smith Industries employee Dale Andrew Hayden, 50, of Midland and himself a veteran of at least two deployments to the Middle East, has yet to be interviewed by NTSB investigators due to his traumatic state. He is extremely distraught and is currently on medical leave from Smith Industries, a Midland-based oilfield services company which donated use of the truck used in the Midland parade.
Thus far, four of the injured, two servicemen and their spouses, have filed suit against both the Union Pacific Railroad and Smith Industries in regard to the accident. All four are being represented by Lubbock-based personal injury attorney Kevin Glasheen and railroad accident attorney Bob Pottroff of Manhattan, KS. More victims and their families are expected to join in the legal action once they have completed their respective physical and mental healing processes.
The NTSB says it could be 12 to 18 months before a “probable cause” for the accident is determined and released.