Investigators Perform Crash Tests at the Midland Train Accident Site

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- NTSB investigators and various Midland city officials spent roughly four hours at the train crash site on Tuesday performing "sight-distance tests."

Investigators used a double-decker freight train and a semi truck, both comparable to the ones in the accident, and enacted the events leading up to the crash using various measurement devices and techniques.

The goal of the tests are to figure out at what point the truck driver was able to see the train, and at what point in time were the train operators able to see the truck.

These tests are a crucial step in the investigative efforts.

On Tuesday, the City of Midland sent out a statement in regards to the accident reporting they never issued a permit nor did they ever receive an application for a permit from parade organizer, a group called the "Show of Support" organization.

Bob Pottroff, an attorney representing some of the victims, gave us his opinion on how the lack of a permit may or may not have influenced the events leading up to the crash.

"I don't think anybody got hurt by a permit. It was a train and it was a truck involved. It would be different if it turned out that this appeared to be an unauthorized event but it's my understanding that there were police officers and city personnel involved in the parade itself, so I find that whether or not a piece of paper is out there or not is probably one of those red herrings that is a non-issue," Pottroff said.

The NTSB tells NewsWest 9 that their investigators will likely stay in Midland continuing this investigation through the upcoming holiday weekend. They'll also reportedly be working on Thanksgiving Day.