A Holly Springs couple was among the 16 people injured when a parade float carrying veterans and their families was hit by a train in Midland, Texas, in a horrific accident that so far has claimed four lives.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a fatal accident that occurred around 4 p.m. Thursday following a parade held to honor wounded service veterans. The flatbed trailer carrying the veterans and their families was en route to a banquet when it was struck by a Union Pacific train at the crossing.
Friends and co-workers of Holly Springs Police Officer Shane Ladner and his wife, Meg, spent much of Friday waiting for updates on their condition.
The department’s chaplain, Sgt. Brian Cain, was flown to Midland to be with the couple.
Ladner, 40, a five-year veteran of the force, was treated for back injuries and released, but his wife remained in serious but stable condition at Midland Memorial Hospital, police spokeswoman Lt. Tanya Anderson said. Doctors amputated her left leg, but there were no other details on the extent of her injuries, Anderson said.
The department said late Friday that plans call for flying Meg Ladner to Atlanta, but that may not occur until Monday.
“We’re a small, close-knit family,” Police Chief Ken Ball said. “It’s been difficult.”
Shane Ladner had been in Midland to participate in the annual “Hunt for Heroes” event that honors soldiers wounded in action. Ball said Ladner was reluctant to attend because he felt he didn’t deserve any special honors.
“He’s a really positive kind of guy and never dwelt on the negative,” Ball said.
Ladner began his law enforcement career with the Hall County Sheriff’s Department prior to being called back to active duty following 9/11. Upon his return to Georgia, he joined the Canton Police Department, where he spent five years before joining the Holly Springs Police Department.
A fund has been set up for the Ladners at Cherokee Bank in Canton. Donations can be made in person, or by mail to Cherokee Bank, P.O. Box 4250, Canton, Ga., 30114. The phone number is (770) 479-3400. Make checks payable to Ladner Benefit Fund. Cherokee Bank has two locations in Canton and one in Woodstock.