Two of the men were killed at the scene, while the other two were pronounced dead later on at a nearby hospital. 16 people were also injured in the crash, which took place in Midland, Texas around 4:30 pm.
The parade, led by a local group called Show of Support, was supposed to take the veterans through the city and end with a banquet. The group provides outdoor opportunities for wounded service members, according to its website.
“This was part of a celebration to honor military heroes and their spouses for their service in the military,” said the Midland police chief, Price Robinson. “It’s a very tragic event that words can’t describe.”
Witnesses who were in some of the vehicles near the front of the parade said the train seemed to appear from out of nowhere. Robert Volker was driving his red pickup near the front of the parade, his wife, Melissa, at his side. The two trailers carrying the veterans and their wives were behind them. Mr. Volker had driven over the railroad crossing when, 15 to 20 seconds later, he heard a loud boom, he said. “We thought at first it was maybe a blown tire,” he said. “We immediately look back and just see dust.”