Twenty-Six Settle in Veterans Parade Tragedy

     DALLAS (CN) – Twenty-six of the 43 people who sued Union Pacific after a freight train smashed into a parade float packed with military veterans in West Texas have settled their claims, their attorneys said.
     Forty-three people sued the Omaha-based railroad company in Midland County Court after the November 2012 collision in Midland. Four people died and more than a dozen suffered serious injuries, including lost limbs and paraplegia.
     The parade float was passing over a railroad crossing when the crossing gates lowered as the train approached with its horn blowing.
     The plaintiffs claimed the signal system at the Garfield Street intersection was defective, resulting in the lights and gates being activated too late to warn the veterans to get off of the float.
     Twenty-six people have reached a settlement with Union Pacific, their attorneys Kevin Glasheen, with Glasheen Valles in Lubbock, and Bob Pottroff, of Manhattan, Kan., said Friday.
     Settlement terms are confidential, but Glasheen said his clients are “very satisfied” with the settlement.
     “The settlement given them the security and comfort they will need while they try to rebuild their lives,” Glasheen said in a statement. “They were treated very well.”
     All 43 plaintiffs have settled claims with truck driver Dale Hayden and parade organizer Show of Support, Glasheen said.
     They also settled claims with Smith Industries, the owner of the tractor-trailer being used as a parade float.
     The remaining 17 plaintiffs will go to trial on Jan. 26 before Ector County Judge James Rush. They are represented by Jack Hill of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Dallas attorneys Steve Malouf, Charla Aldous and Jim Mitchell.
     Glasheen and Valles declined to comment on why their clients settled while the other 17 plaintiffs did not.
     Union Pacific spokesman Jeff Degraff confirmed the settlement Friday, but declined to elaborate on the terms.

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