Attorneys Question Signal Warning Time 11/19/12
CBS 7 News
November 19, 2012
MIDLAND-The National Transportation Safety Board has not reached a final conclusion about the cause of Thursday’s wreck, but two attorneys claim if the crossing had only ten extra seconds, this tragedy would not have happened.
NTSB officials said the timing of the alarm system and gates “functioned as designed;” activating 20 seconds before the crash.
But today at a press conference, Kansas-based railroad litigator, Bob Pottroff, said a design standard set for that specific intersection requires a longer warning period.
“I can tell you today, in all probability, the warning signals for the crossing is 30 seconds or greater,” Pottroff said. “Now, the tragedy is if you would have given these people another 10 seconds worth of warning, the gate would have come down in front of the driver instead of behind his back. This accident would have never happen.”
Additionally, Pottroff said this specific intersection is complex because of the elevated crossing and two adjoining roadways, which requires more time for cars to cross the intersection.
Pottroff along with Lubbock personal injury attorney Kevin Glasheen, said they have not filed a lawsuit yet, but are speaking with victims.
The two attorneys represent Sergeant First Officer, Richard Sanchez and his wife, Heather Sanchez, both of whom were on the float during the crash.
One day after the tragedy, both lawyers announced they would be representing victims of the train crash.
Glasheen said the urgency in filing this lawsuit is to preserve the evidence.
“Yes it’s too soon, and yes, it’s necessary,” to talk about legal action, said Pottroff.
Former President of the State Bar of Texas Harper Estes says it's not uncommon for attorneys to seek clients shortly after a big tragedy.
“It’s not unusual to advertise—in some large tragedies it’s not uncommon,” Estes said. “It’s more so in airline crashes.
And it can trouble people, but they certainly have the right to do so.”