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Western Railroad Discussion > Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update


Date: 11/21/12 09:55
Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: Cumbresfan

The NTSB performed site tests at the Midland crossing yesterday (Tuesday) but has not released results. Also, there was no city permit issued for the parade though one attorney says police and sheriff cars were escorting. UP was quoted in another report that to their knowledge they were not contacted about the parade.

The attached link is the best one for complete information and updates:

http://www.kwes.com/category/251369/tradgedy-in-the-tall-city

Edit: Link to the report that UP was not contacted about the parade.

http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_c5505b97-0f5a-576a-8e83-eaa2e902301c.html

Another link about lawyers looking to blame UP for the accident by not having more time for the gates to lower before the train arrives. (NTSB has already provided a timeline that shows the driver entered the crossing after the lights were activated; the truck was in the crossing when the gates lowered.)

http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_88d3c5f8-5a9e-56dc-9189-e2c94da9ac04.html



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/12 10:31 by Cumbresfan.



Date: 11/21/12 10:53
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: livesteamer

Another link about lawyers looking to blame UP for the accident by not having more time for the gates to lower before the train arrives. (NTSB has already provided a timeline that shows the driver entered the crossing after the lights were activated; the truck was in the crossing when the gates lowered.)

Don't you just hate lawyers!!!!

Marty Harrison
Knob Noster, MO



Date: 11/21/12 11:01
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: 90mac

That's what I thought,NO permit,NO notice to UP.
The UP is blameless.
I would NOT want to be the parade organizer.
Tragically STUPID.
TAH



Date: 11/21/12 11:56
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: ddg

Follow the money



Date: 11/21/12 12:31
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: Cumbresfan

ddg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Follow the money

From Lackawanna484 comment in an earlier thread:

Many states have what's called a "joint and several" liability process. It differs from a "proportional" process for paying liability damages. In many states, you can be 10% responsible for an accident, but pay 100% of the damages.

For example,in joint and several, a guy stops by your bar, and has one drink, walks out well under the 0.08% threshold. Drives to a park where he and his low life buddy drink a quart of whiskey. He drives out and hits a guy walking across the street, crippling him for life. The driver has no assets, nor does the buddy.

Your bar may be found 10% liable for the accident, but be directed to pay 100% of the financial damages to the crippled guy. In contrast, in a proportional state, the bar would pay 10% and the crippled guy would be out of luck suing anybody else.

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,2922895

-----------
A quick search shows Texas has a modified Joint and Several liability system. If a defendant (i.e. UP) is found to be 51% or more responsible for the accident, Joint and Several Liability applies. A defendant less than 51% negligent will be responsible only for the portion of damages proportionate to their share of the negligence.

http://www.the-injury-lawyer-directory.com/texas.html#liability

So, unless Texas tort law has been modified, the lawyers will be looking to prove UP responsible for 51% or more of the accident.



Date: 11/21/12 12:45
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: defect_detector

And they are of course... The big bad railroad owns the tracks through town and their trains travel that track. No railroad, no tracks, no trains = accident never would've happened. Where do I get my cut of the defense fees?

It'll be a great day in this country when people have to start taking responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming others. I know, I know, I'm a dreamer.

Cumbresfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So, unless Texas tort law has been modified, the
> lawyers will be looking to prove UP responsible
> for 51% or more of the accident.



Date: 11/21/12 13:31
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: Bath_wildcat

I do not see how UP is to blame for this, but I can tell you a so called Quiet zone is to blame, which leads me to being against them. Trains thse days are quiet, as in a locomotive can sneak up on you without you knowing it (had several do that to me while out railfanning, never knowing that the train was there until I heard dynamic braking squealing).

Second, while this is tragic, I dont thinlk the truck driver is to blame either, but the city of Midland is to blame. May these heros rest in peace.



Date: 11/21/12 14:12
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: a737flyer

livesteamer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another link about lawyers looking to blame UP for
> the accident by not having more time for the gates
> to lower before the train arrives. (NTSB has
> already provided a timeline that shows the driver
> entered the crossing after the lights were
> activated; the truck was in the crossing when the
> gates lowered.)
>
> Don't you just hate lawyers!!!!


Actually, Marty, thank God for lawyers. It just all depends on whose ox is being gored.



Date: 11/21/12 14:23
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: a737flyer

That defense,"...if there were no tracks, there would be no trains and therefore no injuries..." has been tried over and over again. The heart of the matter is that tracks are private property and anyone on them when a train is near, all other things being equal is guilty of trespassing. Period.

Now truthfully, the "all things being equal" presumes all warning devices to be working correctly but there was a case a few years ago where the lawyer tried to say the gates and lights were not working. When they were tested, they worked but the lawyer persisted and the court held that lights and gates do constitute proper warning. Unfortunately for the lawyer, he did not reckon with the state and federal "stop, look and listen" statute that exists for all grade crossings.

That seems to me to abrogate the crossing gates and lights argument for all time. What say ye.

Martin?



Date: 11/21/12 14:55
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: dcfbalcoS1

If the dynamic brakes were 'squealing' I hope they oil them very soon. :) I always thought DB's howled.



Date: 11/21/12 14:56
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: Lackawanna484

It will be very interesting to see how the facts of this case line up.

I'm sure there's an established protocol for parades which lays out the responsibilities of various city employees, sets parameters for how many police officers are called out on overtime, prepositions ambulances, and who is billed for things like bleachers, road barriers, putting up detour signs, etc. Somewhere in there is a protocol directing somebody to call or notify the railroad, the county ambulance service (to alert them of roads closed, a large gathering of people, etc), and various other outside parties.

There's probably a requirement that a bond be posted by the organizers to assure payment in the event of cancellation, evidence of insurance coverage for liabilities and injuries, etc.

The organizers and the police department usually put together a traffic plan to assure access to parking, and avoid huge delays on through roads, etc. In some places, gatherings of more than a certain number of people also generate a notice to the Department of Homeland Security.

The railroad might add a line to the bulletin for the district to the effect that there's a slow order from milepost X to milepost Y, or might impose a slow order, depending on any number of local reasons.

I have no doubt that each affected interest is carefully reviewing their own responsibilities and how well they were executed. And documented.



Date: 11/21/12 14:56
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: ddg

And just how legal is it for a CDL trucker to haul a bunch of people on a flatbed trailer on a public street or highway without proper seats or restraints? Even a bus driver has to have a CDL w/bus endorsement if carrying more than a certain mumber of people.



Date: 11/21/12 16:25
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: Cumbresfan

ddg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And just how legal is it for a CDL trucker to haul
> a bunch of people on a flatbed trailer on a public
> street or highway without proper seats or
> restraints? Even a bus driver has to have a CDL
> w/bus endorsement if carrying more than a certain
> mumber of people.

How many towns have high school homecoming parades with kids on a float trailer pulled by a tractor or P/U truck?? It's done all the time. And with the holiday parades coming up (tomorrow's Macy's and New Year's Rose Bowl in particular) the participants are unlikely to have proper seats. In this case it was adults in the seats.

The remarks by Lackawanna484 are more relevant. In this case there was no parade permit according to the city of Midland (who having said that, declined further comment). However, there were police and sheriff deputies directing traffic and blocking streets. Informality seems to have been the word of the day. I'm sure that will change as a result of this horrific incident.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/12 16:27 by Cumbresfan.



Date: 11/21/12 21:11
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: john1082

livesteamer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another link about lawyers looking to blame UP for
> the accident by not having more time for the gates
> to lower before the train arrives. (NTSB has
> already provided a timeline that shows the driver
> entered the crossing after the lights were
> activated; the truck was in the crossing when the
> gates lowered.)
>
> Don't you just hate lawyers!!!!

Us lawyers, we're really handy to dump on - 'till you need us

John Gezelius
Tustin, CA



Date: 11/21/12 22:42
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: onblock

I've seen the Google views of the crossing on an earlier thread, and I have a question. If a person with normal vision was at the crossing on a sunny afternoon, when would the headlights of an approaching train become clearly visible? Given the terrain and a train speed of 62 mph could it have been visible for at least several minutes? What ever happened to Stop, Look, and Listen?!



Date: 11/22/12 06:24
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: coaststarlight99

Interesting stuff. There are two things I'm wondering about this tragedy and how it will effect things in the future. Specifically:

1) Quiet zones. Will this incident be "the one" that we have all talked about in the past? In other words, will this be the one that puts a stop to quiet zones because of how dangerous it is?

2) I know someone who is a veteran in a police department in California, and he told me that they never call the railroad when they have city events that cross the tracks. It has never been an issue in the past, and it's something nobody has ever thought about before. He said that this will surely change that, and many police departments will most likely now reexamine their policy on this type of thing.



Date: 11/22/12 07:50
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: Lackawanna484

coaststarlight99 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting stuff. There are two things I'm
> wondering about this tragedy and how it will
> effect things in the future. Specifically:
>
> 1) Quiet zones. Will this incident be "the one"
> that we have all talked about in the past? In
> other words, will this be the one that puts a stop
> to quiet zones because of how dangerous it is?
>
> 2) I know someone who is a veteran in a police
> department in California, and he told me that they
> never call the railroad when they have city events
> that cross the tracks. It has never been an issue
> in the past, and it's something nobody has ever
> thought about before. He said that this will
> surely change that, and many police departments
> will most likely now reexamine their policy on
> this type of thing.

A similar issue is being litigated here in NJ. A funeral procession of several dozen cars passed through a green traffic signal which turned red as the parade was passing through. An impatient motorist on the cross street advanced on the green. A car in the funeral stopped, and was rear ended by another car in the procession.

The officer ticketed the drivers for entering the crossing against the light. Absent a police officer over riding the traffic signal, the funeral procession was "in the wrong". Even though it's a long standing custom.



Date: 11/22/12 11:12
Re: Veteran's Parade - UP Crash Update
Author: deckard

a737flyer Wrote:
>... he did not
> reckon with the state and federal "stop, look and
> listen" statute that exists for all grade
> crossings.
>
> That seems to me to abrogate the crossing gates
> and lights argument for all time. What say ye.

Federal law covers any vehicle like a bus carrying passengers or not to STOP, LOOK & LISTEN regardless of the signals. A eerily similar and much worse accident just happened involving a school bus in Egypt. Failing the "bus" geometry that in fact was carrying passengers, I still grieve for everyone involved including the crew in what could have/should have been avoidable.

Texas state law is a little more vague and insists on signals. The problem here like many other truck/train accidents is the too-close proximity of a controlled intersection at the crossing. All too often a driver misses the red for the green. An ancient adjunct is still on the books that drivers may not manually shift gears on a crossing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/12 11:31 by deckard.



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