Wisconsin woman injured in Texas float crash

CREATED Nov. 18, 2012

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RACINE - A national tragedy hits home in Wisconsin. A Racine native critically injured in a deadly "parade float accident" in Texas. The parade float carrying wounded veterans and their spouses was struck by a freight train Thursday afternoon.

Four veterans were killed. At least sixteen others were hurt. That includes a woman who grew up in Racine.

"It's just a tragedy what happened." Hundreds of miles from Midland, Texas, Roger Stevens feels the pain of this horrific train crash. He learned how close to home it hit when his son-in-law, Officer Shane Ladner, called. His voice, unrecognizeable. "Couldn't understand him. He was shookup."

Shane and his wife, Meg, were on the float carrying wounded veterans when a train traveling more than 60 miles per hour slammed into them. Both were hurt. Meg, critically. Her leg has been amputated and she has many broken bones.

"She still has tubes in her throat and she's pretty much incapacitated," explained Roger. It's a tough thought for the father who describes his daughter as very active. But, he tells us Meg is improving.

"Hopefully she's going to get better." She and Shane -- a two-time purple heart receipent-- live in Georgia but were in Midland for a banquet honoring vets. It was supposed to be a weekend filled with hunting and fun and tributes. Saturday, investigators determined train warning signals were activated before the truck pulling the float crossed the tracks. As he waits for more information, Roger's trying to wrap his head around how such a tragedy could happen.

"It's just hard for me to understand how a train can be going that damn fast through town. It's really a bummer." Meg's husband suffered minor injuries in the crash. Her family is working with the hospital to get her on a medical plane back to Atlanta where she now lives and will remain hospitalized.