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    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    Midland, Texas: 4 dead, 17 injured after train hits parade float carrying wounded vet

    Revealed: How heroic veteran killed by an oncoming train during parade saved his wife by pushing her off the wounded warriors float moments before the collision

    • Sgt Joshua Michael, 34, saved his wife of 15 years, Daylyn, just moments before train crash
    • Daylyn Michael was not hurt in Midland crash
    • Michael served in Iraq, where he earned two Purple Hearts before being medically retired due to brain injuries
    • Eastbound Union Pacific train was traveling 60mph through town when it slammed into the trailer carrying 26 people
    • Wounded veterans shoved their wives and girlfriends out of the way as train barreled down the tracks into the float
    • Midland, Texas, residents turned out in droves to donate blood at emergency donation center hospital set up in wake of the crash

    By Michael Zennie and Snejana Farberov
    PUBLISHED:20:59 EST, 15 November 2012| UPDATED:15:50 EST, 16 November 201
    Comments (202)

    Sgt Joshua Michael, a Purple Heart recipient, was killed along with three other people when a train slammed into a parade float they were riding to a veterans' banquet in Midland, Texas, but not before committing one final act of heroism by pushing his wife off the doomed vehicle.

    The victim, identified by authorities as Sgt Joshua Michael, 34, was among the 26 people riding on a flatbed truck en route to a 'Show of Support' dinner in their honor when a Union Pacific freight train suddenly appeared on the tracks and ploughed through the float.

    According to Michael's mother-in-law, Mary Hefley, the Iraq war veteran pushed his wife of 15 years, Daylyn, off the float just moments before impact, saving her life in the process.

    Michael was among the four people who were killed in the tragic collision that took place at around 4.30pm in the west Texas town. Another 16 people were taken to a hospital with injuries.

    Scroll down for video

    Before impact: Sgt Joshua Michael and his wife, Daylyn, pictured in black circle moments before a train collided with the float they were riding to a veterans' banquet in Midland, Texas

    Real hero: Sgt Joshua Michael, right, died saving his wife of 15 years, Daylyn, just moment before Texas train crash

    Heartbreaking: Michael leaves behind (left to right) his daughter Maci, wife Daylyn and son Ryan

    ‘He was that kind of guy,' Hefley told Amarillo Globe News. 'He would do for others before he would do for himself.'

    Hefley added that her daughter was not among the 16 left injured in the crash.

    On Friday morning, the names of the other three victims killed in the fatal accident were released: Sgt Maj Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt Maj Lawrence Boivin, 47, and Sgt Maj William Lubbers, 43.

    Officials said that Stouffer and Boivin were pronounced dead at the scene, while Lubbers died at the hospital along with Michael.

    According to reporting by ABC News, like Michael, Boivin also pushed his wife, Angela, off the float right before the collision. The mother of two was injured, but survived. Eyewitness Jaime Garza told the station that the 47-year-old veteran died in his arms.

    Fallen: Sgt Maj Gary Stouffer, left, and Sgt Major Lawrence Boivin, right, were the two veterans pronounced dead at the scene of the crash

    Valiant: Sgt Maj William Lubbers, 43, left, was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries along with Sgt Maj Joshua Michael, right

    Fighting for survival: Sgt Lubbers' wife, Tiffani Kim Lubbers, pictured with their son, William, was injured in the crash and is currently listed in serious condition

    Michael served 10 years in the U.S. Army and was awarded two Purple Heart medals before being medically retired due to multiple brain injuries he had suffered after being hit by an IED while serving with the Mighty 101st Airborne Division.

    Despite his health problems that resulted from serving his country, Michael was proud of being a soldier.

    'I wouldn’t change anything that happened. I am a better man, husband and father because of my service,' he wrote in a biographical entry.

    According to Hefley, Michael attended Amarillo College and later practiced paramedicine for Northwest Texas Hospital before enlisting after 9/11.

    The Hereford native leaves behind his wife and two children, 14-year-old Ryan and even-year-old Maci. The family lives in San Antonio, where the 34-year-old victim worked as a real estate agent.

    Michael’s friend Cory Rogers released a statement from the family saying in part,‘Words cannot express our grief or our feelings in this moment of profound loss. Josh was the kind of man who fought for what he believed in and for those he loved.’

    Warrior: Michael served in the Army for 10 years before he was medically retired after suffering brain injuries from an IED explosion in Iraq

    Happier times: The Michael family live in San Antonio, Texas, where the father of two worked as a real estate agent

    Career change: Michael wrote on his Facebook page that he had become a real estate agent after working as a paramedic for 15 years

    During a phone interview on NBC’s Today Show, Rogers said that Michael’s widow flew to their home Thursday night near San Antonio to be with their son and daughter.

    ‘He was just a great family guy,’ Rogers told Today. ‘Just, you know, an all-around American hero in my opinion.’

    Sgt Maj Boivin retired from the Army after 24 years of service which included tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and several African countries.

    The 47-year-old was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart after he was severely injured whle helping evacuate other wounded soldiers following in an RPG attack in Iraq in 2004.

    After retiring from the Army, the highly decorated veteran began working for a defense contractor based in North Carolina as a weapons specialist.

    Boivin is survived by his wife, Angela, who is a nurse, two stepdaughters and a grandson.

    Stouffer was an active duty officer in the Marine Corps at the time of his death. He had enlisted while in college and spent the next 17 years serving in the military.

    Grieving together: Patriot Guard riders gather Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in Midland, Texas, as ride captain Ductape leads them in prayers for the victims and their families of the veterans parade accident

    Mourning: People across Midland cried and comforted each other Friday in the aftermath of the horrific crash

    Strength in faith: Hundreds gather early Friday, some holding flags, for a prayer service to honor and pray for all those involved in the incident

    The 37-year-old solider was deployed to Albania and Kosovo, did two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, where he suffered a brain injury as a result of an IED blast. The decorated Marine was awaiting pending approval for a Purple Heart medal at the time of the crash.

    Stouffer wrote in his biographical entry on the site Go San Angelothat he was planning to retire in three years so he could enjoy the great outdoors and fulfill his great dream of going on hunting trip in Texas.

    He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Catherine Kennedy, and their two children, a 16-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy.

    Lubbers served 21 of his 24 years of service with Army Special Forces. He did four tours of duty in Afghanistan and served one year in neighbouring Pakistan.

    While out on patrol during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, Lubbers was shot in the arm and had to undergo more than a dozen surgeries, but made full recovery.

    The Purple Heart recipient is survived by his wife, Tiffani, who was also injured in the train collision and remains in serious condition. The couple have two children aged 18 and 11.

    Four people have died and 16 were injured in west Texas after a freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans en route to a charity benefit.

    The veterans and their wives were seated on the flat beds of two tractor trailer rigs that paraded through downtown Midland, Texas, to a 'Show of Support' banquet in their honor.

    As the two trailers crossed the train tracks, a Union Pacific train suddenly appeared, barreling down the tracks about 4.30pm on Thursday.

    United they stand: Parade participants and public safety officials huddle after a trailer carrying wounded veterans in a parade was struck by a train in Midland, Texas

    Devastation: A train smashed into this flatbed trailer carrying dozens of veterans and their spouses on Thursday evening

    Mangled: Emergency crews work on victims injured by the Union Pacific train that smashed into a parade float. Two people died at the scene and two others died at the hospital

    Selfless: The Midland County Sheriff said several of the veterans tried to push their friends or their wives out of the way before the train hit

    The first float pulled ahead and successfully cleared the tracks, but the second float, still filled with people, was smashed by the locomotive.

    Marcy Madrid, a spokeswoman at Midland Memorial Hospital, said one person hurt in the crash was in critical condition and four were in stable condition early Friday.

    She said 10 people were treated and released and that one woman was transferred to a hospital in Lubbock. Madrid said reports Thursday that 17 people had been injured in the crash were incorrect.

    'It was pandemonium at the point of impact. Some (of the veterans) tried to jump and protect each other, their girlfriends and their wives,' Sheriff Gary Painter told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

    The overwhelmed staff at Midland Memorial Hospital have begun asking the community for blood donations and set up an emergency donation center in the city, KWES-TV reports.

    Midland residents turned out in droves, wrapping around the parking lot and waiting for hours for a chance to donate blood.

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta 'was deeply saddened by news of the tragic accident involving veterans heroes and their spouses in Midland,' Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.

    'His thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, with those injured in this incident, and with the entire community.'

    Horror: The special convoy was meant to kick off as special weekend for the veterans and their families, including an all-expenses-paid deer hunt

    'Heroes on Board': This is a shot of the tragic parade float just moments before it was wrecked and destroyed by a train

    Horrified: Two participants in the parade cling to each other after the horrific crash that left 17 people injured -- ten of then critically

    Event organizers say 24 veterans and their spouses were on the trailers, en route from a downtown hotel to a banquet in their honor, according to the newspaper.

    The trailer that was hit by the train had 26 people on it -- a dozen veterans an their wives and girlfriends, plus two parade organizers.

    Many seemed to panic as the train’s horn blared, said Patricia Howle, who was waiting in her car at a nearby traffic light.

    'I was on the phone, and I just started screaming,' she told The Associated Press after Thursday afternoon’s crash. 'The truck was on the other side of the train, but I did see the panic on the faces of the people and saw some of them jump off.'

    Eyewitness Eservando Wisler told ABC News: 'I just saw people going under the train. There was blood. There was blood all over.'

    The eastbound train was sounding its horn before it hit the float, Union Pacific spokesman Tom Lange said.

    The train was traveling about 60mph. The speed limit for locomotives passing through Midland was increased from 40mph in 2003.

    A preliminary investigation indicates the crossing gate and lights were working at the time, Lange said, though he didn't know if the train crew saw the float approaching.

    However, witnesses reported that the crossing arms never lowered at the intersection, leaving the truck driver and the veterans completely off guard.
    There were 10 previous collisions at the same Midland railroad crossing, according to Federal Railroad Administration records reviewed by The Associated Press.

    Five cars and five trucks have been struck by trains or rail equipment at the Garfield railroad crossing in Midland since 1979. Six drivers were injured in the accidents but there were no fatalities.

    The trains involved in the previous collisions were moving slowly at the time of the accidents — between 15 mph and 25 mph. The most recent incident was in December 1997 when a rail car moving at 5 mph struck a car crossing the tracks, injuring the driver.

    West Texas: The accident occurred in Midland, Texas, a city of 110,000 about 300 miles from Dallas

    Two cars and a tractor-trailer truck were struck by trains while the vehicles were stopped on the crossing. In the other incidents, the vehicles were in the process of crossing the tracks.

    Lange said Union Pacific is offering help to the community and victims' families, as well as peer-to-peer counseling for the train crew, who did not sustain any injuries.

    The National Transportation Safety Board is on the scene, investigating the cause of the crash, along with local sheriff's deputies and police.

    Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairwoman, said Friday on NBC's Today Show that the train was equipped with a forward-facing camera whose footage could help in the investigation.

    'That will give us some video images if it survived the crash and we can download it, as well as recorders on the train,' Hersman said. 'We're going to be looking at the signals ... and making sure that the gates and lights were coming down.'

    The parade was meant to kick off a weekend of celebration for the veterans, who were supposed to go on an all-expense-paid whitetail deer hunting trip this weekend, while their wives were treated to a weekend out on the town.

    Those events have been canceled as the community reels from the disaster.
    'I’m just sick. I’m sick to my stomach,' Mayor Wes Perry told the Reporter-Telegram.

    Stalled: A line of Corvettes followed the parade float. They were stalled at the intersection where the crash occurred

    Disbelief: Terry Johnson, the founder of the 'Show of Support' charity that sponsored the parade, phones family members after the deadly crash

    Shock: The West Texas city of 110,000 is reeling from the disaster

    VIDEO: Tragedy. Emotional statement from Mayor as families wait for more information... at the page link

    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Midland, Texas: 4 dead, 17 injured after train hits parade float carrying wounded veterans | Mail Online
    Last edited by AirborneSapper7; 11-16-2012 at 06:01 PM.
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    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    May 2007
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