Train Crash Versus Float Driver: No Charges
Wednesday, a grand jury declined to indict the driver of a parade float involved in a train collision that killed four US military veterans. Dale Andrew Hayden, the driver of the truck pulling the float, will not face charges for the November 15 accident in which four veterans who had served overseas died. There were 16 others injured in the crash.
The veterans had been riding on a flatbed truck that was hit by a Union Pacific train traveling at 62 mph. The truck was the second float in a parade to honor wounded veterans and their families. The accident remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, states the Huffington Post.
According to the NTSB, the railroad crossing warning system had begun its warning 20 seconds before the accident, and the guardrail began to come down seven seconds later. The float began crossing the train tracks even though warning bells were sounding and the crossing lights had been blinking, Investigators say.
Union Pacific Corp. of Omaha, Nebraska announced in December that the timing of the crossing signal where the collision occurred was being adjusted.
The veterans had been invited to Midland for a three-day weekend of hunting and shopping in a show of gratitude for their service. Show of Support, a local charity, organized the entire celebration without a permit from the City.
Hayden, whose military career spans more than three decades, works as a truck driver for Smith Industries, an oil company. The company placed Hayden on medical leave, according to FOX News. He will probably lose his license, since Commercial Drivers License laws state that one should be sure they can clear the railroad tracks before they attempt to cross.
Among the dead veterans were Marine Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gary Stouffer, 37; Army Sergeant Major Lawrence Boivin, 47; Army Sergeant Joshua Michael, 34; and Army Sergeant Major William Lubbers, 43.