Veterans parade accident investigation will go to Texas grand jury
By Glenn Puit | Odessa American, Texas | Published: January 4, 2013
MIDLAND, Texas — The Midland Police Department investigation of the Nov. 15 train crash with a military veterans’ parade will be presented next week to the new Midland County grand jury.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Kalenak with the Midland District Attorney’s Office said he will present the case to the grand jury on Wednesday, although he added he isn’t targeting any person for an indictment.
“It was such a terrible incident in which there were four deaths and multiple injuries that we felt, the district attorney felt, it was something that needed to be presented to the grand jury to make sure everything had a full airing,” Kalenak said.
The accident occurred during a Show of Support parade for the Hunt for Heroes event, in which veterans were being driven through Midland on a number of flatbed trailers.
According to information released in investigations, the truck carrying 26 people – 12 veterans, their wives and two escorts – entered a railroad crossing seconds after warning lights and bells activated and just before crossing guards lowered, signaling that a train was on its way.
The trailer was struck at 62 mph, killing 47-year-old Army Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 34-year-old Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 37-year-old Marin Chief Warrant Officer Gary Stouffer and 43-year-old Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers.
Another 16 riders were hospitalized with injuries.
Kalenak said the police department gave its investigation to the district attorney’s office in December, which is now seeking recommendations from the grand jury.
No one was arrested in the investigation, Kalenak said, and as such he said he is not targeting anyone for an indictment.
Kalenak said the grand jury may issue an indictment or a grand jury report, which is a public statement on a situation without a criminal indictment.
“There’s no particular person that they’re going to be looking at,” he said. “Obviously, the people that were involved in the incident, their statements are going to be looked at.”
No live witnesses will be initially brought in to the grand jury meeting, Kalenak said, but the grand jury can request additional evidence or live witnesses.
“We wanted to take the case to the grand jury to bring it to them for their recommendations,” he said. “It’s not my job to recommend anything one way or another.
Kalenak said the grand jury must be sworn in and go through an orientation before he presents the case in the 385th District Court.