Report: San Antonio resident Joshua Michael killed in train-vets parade float crash in Texas
Report: Army Sgt. Joshua Michael died saving wife's life; 3 others killed
SAN ANTONIO - KSAT has learned one of the victims killed in a parade float collision in Midland lived in the San Antonio area and died after saving his wife's life.
Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, of Converse, was one of four people confirmed dead after a Union Pacific freight train slammed into a float carrying war veterans to an honorary banquet.
Michael saved his wife's life by pushing her off the float before the accident. The report goes on to say Michael's wife, Daylyn Michael, was not one of the 17 injured in the accident.
"That sounds exactly like something Josh would do. He was a hero. I think his actions speak volumes for the kind of man he was," said Spencer Hasch, who worked with Michael.
Michael was a real estate agent in Garden Ridge and, according to Hasch and others who knew him, he was a family man, devoted husband, loving father -- and a hero. He joined the Army shortly after 9/11 and retired for medical reasons.
"He served multiple times in combat over in Iraq, was wounded multiple times and received the Purple Heart twice," Hasch said.
Those who worked with him remain in disbelief.
"It's a tragedy, to be able to go over (to Iraq) multiple times in combat to survive, and the have something like this happen, it tells you how precious life is," Hasch said.
According to Hasch, Michael was injured several times in combat, and spent time at San Antonio Military Medical Center. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury from an improvised explosive device.
However, upon return, Michael worked hand-in-hand with the Wounded Warrior Project, despite being a wounded warrior himself.
Michael leaves behind a wife and two children.
Other area man injured in crash
Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Juarez, of San Antonio, is in stable condition and is expected to be released from a Midland hospital sometime on Friday.
Juarez somehow survived the train crash, his second brush with death since being struck in the head by a sniper’s bullet in Afghanistan two years ago.
His family’s parish priest, Father Phil Henning of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Floresville, said the husband and father of three girls had struggled to regain use of his right arm and leg to the point Juarez did not need a wheelchair.
However, other wounded warriors trapped on top of that flatbed trailer were mobility impaired. It is not yet known how Juarez escaped the on-coming train.
“This is a family of faith,” Henning said. “I think that faith has always made them stronger and it’s always been an inspiration for all of us.”
Henning said although the Marine was among the honored wounded warriors, the priest believes Juarez was there as his own way of supporting the troops.
NTSB: Train was traveling under 70 mph speed limit
The National Transportation Safety Board says the train that crashed into a flatbed trailer carrying wounded veterans was traveling below the 70 mph speed limit.
Mark Rosekind with the NTSB said at a late Friday afternoon news conference that the Union Pacific train was going 62 mph in a 70 mph zone, based on track image recorders.
Four veterans were killed and 16 people were injured Thursday when the train struck the tractor-trailer that was towing the float.
Rosekind also said the train's emergency brakes were applied before the accident, but it is unclear how close it was to the float when that happened.
The NTSB will test the signals for abnormalities on Saturday.
Copyright 2012 by KSAT.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.