A Holly Springs police officer and his wife, who were both injured while riding on a veterans' parade float in Midland, TX, are set to return back to Georgia as early as Monday.
The National Transportation Safety board said the parade organizers used the same route for the past three years, which took floats over train tracks. An NTSB spokesman said the train that hit one of the floats carrying veterans and their spouses had sounded its warning signal before the float crossed the railroad tracks.
Four people were killed and 16 were injured, including Shane Ladner and his wife, Meg Ladner. Shane Ladner, who earned a Purple Heart after injuring his back while serving in the Army, re-injured his back during the accident. Meg Ladner had her entire left leg amputated.
The Canton couple is still at a Midland Hospital.
John Moyse, who served with Shane Ladner, said he is working with others to try to have Meg Ladner flown back to Georgia.
"You're standing on a float, and all of a sudden you hear a train horn and you grab your wife and you throw her out of the way and then you jump," Moyse said, recounting what he had heard from Shane Ladner. "She gets hurt but you didn't get that hurt, I mean, it's traumatic for both of them."
But, Moyse said, he does not want to focus on what happened, rather, what needs to happen now.
"The main priority for us right now is to provide that support to allow the two of them to heal and come back to a normality as best they can," Moyse said. "It's never going to be the same." Moyse said the first priority is to get Meg Ladner flown back to a hospital in the Atlanta area. He said doctors will decide which hospital would be able to provide the best care for her. She could be flown back as early as Monday morning.
"Secondly, is then, what do we got to do to try and help, make is so that when she is ready to come try and come out of the hospital that everything is set around the house the best it can be," Moyse said.
The couple's home, perched atop a steep hill, may need modifications, something that Home Depot has offered to help with.
"What we're trying to do is organize what has to be done around here to make their life as easy as it can be," Moyse said.
The couple had been chosen to attend the parade by an organization that took injured veterans out hunting and pampered their wives for a day. Moyse said he hopes the organization's reputation is not tarnished by the accident.
"I hate that this happened to anyone, especially this group of veterans," Moyse said. "This was a great opportunity to try and pay some respect to these people that have paid some prices with their lives doing what has to be done so that the rest of us can sit around and be happy and free. Unfortunately, it turned tragic."
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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