The Search For Answers: Attorneys Take a Closer Look at Railroad Crossing 11/19/12
CBS 7 Reporter
November 19, 2012
Midland, TX -The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the train crash that killed 4 veterans last week and today they spoke to the driver of the truck.
But now at least one group in town has their focus set on the railroad company.
Attorney Bob Pottroff says the Union Pacific crossing at Garfield St. is considered "complicated" because of the busy roads on both sides and the hump in the middle of the tracks. Pottroff is an attorney who specializes in train accidents and flew in from Kansas over the weekend.
Today he spent part of his day timing the warning signals that sound before a train crosses through the intersection at Garfield Street.
20 seconds is the minimum federal requirement for the lights to flash, bells to sound and gates to start dropping.
"That would only apply to a crossing that is the model crossing which is straight, level, no complicating factors, 90 degree angles...that's not this crossing," he claims.
Pottroff says the crossing where the crash happened is far from normal and requires more than the minimum standard.
"There can be other design requirements of a particular crossing,” explains NTSB spokesperson Mark Rosekind. “So this one may have different requirements, we’re still looking into that."
Pottroff says this railroad crossing needs at least 30-seconds to warn drivers.
"You see cars coming from a much lower grade up over that hump,” Pottroff says. “30 seconds takes into account what is needed by a driver to be able to get a semi tailor truck over a crossing and clear on the other side.”
10 more seconds that he claims would have made all the difference.
"That gate comes down in front of the cab of the truck and we have a close call where everybody wipes their brow and says ‘wow, that was close’ and the parade continues," Pottroff imagines.
So now he's waiting on more evidence to surface in order to prove that in this case, every second counts
We've requested to see the parade permit from the City of Midland and they have yet to release it. They also say they won't be issuing a statement until the NTSB concludes their investigation, which could take up to a year.
We were able to find a copy of the parade permit form online. According to the form, the city requires any organization holding a parade to have insurance to the tune of $1 million minimum.
The form also says the organization must also follow any state and national laws.