Too Close, Too Soon - West Texans Speak Out On Union Pacific's Billboard Near Hope for Heroes Train Crash Site 1/10/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
January 10, 2013
MIDLAND, TX – A large billboard near the crash site where 4 war veterans were killed during the Hunt for Heroes parade has many West Texans speaking out.
Union Pacific says their billboard is set up to help promote driver safety. But many Midlanders say this sign is just too close to the crash site and put up too soon following the tragic event.
"I think it's just disrespectful right now,” stated Luis Medina, owner of business located near the billboard.
Union Pacific’s sign on the corner of Avenue E and Front St. is only a few blocks down from where 4 veterans lost their lives on a flat bed float in the Hunt for Heroes train crash.
Many say it resembles the tragic accident too much and it needs to come down.
"I think they should take the sign down; that's my opinion," said Rodney Watson, Midland truck driver.
"I think they should take it down, " stated Luis Medina.
Lamar advertising says they've had the sign up long before the train crash.
"That was put up on May 17," stated Lamar Advertising Vice President Guy V. Speck.
Speck says they treat the billboard just like every other advertisement they sell.
"They’re trying to target people in that area; so they go with signs in that area," said Speck.
The sign is a part of Union Pacific’s new campaign targeting Permian Basin truckers that work in the oil industry.
"The increase in drilling operations in the Permian Basin has also increased the number of heavy trucks crossing the tracks,” stated Union Pacific Representative Raquel Espinoza.
Espinoza stated they took the sign down after the accident, but only to restore the viny. Now it's recently been replaced.
"I hope that the community understands we simple want to increase safety in West Texas,” stated Espinoza.
Union Pacific officials say they do not plan on taking this sign down anytime soon.