Holly Springs officer and wife injured in Texas parade accident
by Megan Thornton and Megan Thornton
November 16, 2012 10:35 AM | 3336 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special/Fox 5 Atlanta
Special/Fox 5 Atlanta
Holly Springs Police Department Chief Ken Ball confirmed Friday morning that Officer Shane Ladner and his wife Meg Ladner were among the 16 injured when a train collided with their parade float and killed four other veterans in west Texas.

Ball said Meg Ladner lost her leg in the accident and was bleeding internally.

“She’s got many fractures and many injuries,” Ball said.

Friday afternoon, City Manager Rob Logan said her condition had been upgraded to stable and she will be moved to a hospital in Atlanta to continue recovery.

“We don’t know yet when that’s going to be,” Logan said. The city said in a later release she could be flown back to Georgia as early as today, but it could be Monday before flight arrangements can be made.

Ladner, a uniform patrol officer previously with Canton Police Department, received back injuries and has been released from the hospital, Ball said.

Ball said hospital personnel attempted to transfer Meg Ladner from Midland Memorial Hospital to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, last night but determined her injuries were too severe.

He also said Holly Springs Chaplain Sgt. Brian Cain flew to Texas Thursday to be with the Ladners.

“It’s such a tragic event and we’re just asking for prayer for him, his wife and all the other families,” Ball said.

A fund has been set up for Shane and Meg Ladner at Cherokee Bank in Canton. Donations can be made in person or by mail to Cherokee Bank, P.O. Box 4250, Canton, GA 30114.

Checks can be written to Ladner Benefit Fund. Cherokee Bank has two locations in Canton and one in Woodstock.

Show of Support, a Texas-based nonprofit, chose Ladner as an honoree in the organization’s annual “Hunt For Heroes,” a tribute to members of the armed forces who were injured during their military service.

Show of Support awards honorees with an all-expense paid whitetail deer hunt along with a parade and banquet in their honor.

The United States Army veteran was twice wounded in battle, earning him awards for valor in times of warfare, according to an earlier release by the Holly Springs Police Department.

“Officer Ladner chose a career in law enforcement after retiring from the Army and has proudly served since 2005,” said Lt. Tanya Anderson. “Officer Ladner has been a valuable member of the Holly Springs Police Department for three years and continues to serve his community and nation with honor and integrity.”

The horrific accident happened when a float decorated with American flags and carrying wounded veterans and their spouses to a banquet in west Texas took the full force of a train at a railroad crossing, killing at least four Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and injuring 16 people.

Some managed to jump clear as the train, with its horn blasting, bore down on the float. Horrified spectators at the parade could only watch as the carnage unfolded.

“The train honked its horn, but the 18-wheeler could not go anywhere because of the other (truck) being right in front of it,” said Daniel Quinonez, who was waiting in his vehicle as the parade went by. “It was a horrible accident to watch happen right in front of me. I just saw the people on the semitruck’s trailer panic, and many started to jump off the trailer. But it was too late for many of them.”

Early Friday, Midland city spokesman Ryan Stout said 37-year-old Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer and 47-year-old Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin were pronounced dead at the scene. Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, were pronounced dead later at Midland Memorial Hospital.

Police confirmed the identities of the dead. Of the 16 others hurt in the crash, four are in stable condition and one is critical. Ten others were treated and released from the hospital.

—The Associated Press and staff writer Erin Dentmon also contributed to this report.
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