The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 21, 2012

Army veteran drove float in parade crash

MIDLAND, Texas — The driver of a parade float filled with wounded veterans and their spouses that was struck by a freight train in West Texas is an Army veteran himself who is “in shock” over the accident that killed four people, an attorney said Tuesday.

Dale Andrew Hayden was driving a flatbed truck that investigators say edged across a railroad crossing despite warning signals of a fast approaching train, Hayden’s attorney, Hal Brockett said.

“Words can’t express the sorrow and remorse for the people who got hurt and killed,” Brockett said in an interview.

The revelation of who the driver was came as the National Transportation Safety Board conducted a sight distance test at the crash site. A train and a truck similar to those involved in the accident were driven across the site at various intervals, and the railroad crossing was activated.

Four veterans were killed in the collision in Midland on Thursday. Sixteen people were injured.

Investigators say the float began crossing the train tracks even though warning bells were sounding and the crossing lights were flashing. A Union Pacific train travelling at more than 60 mph ran into the truck as the occupants scrambled to jump to safety.

Hayden, who has a military career spanning more than three decades, now works as a truck driver for Smith Industries, an oilfield services company. Brockett said the company placed Hayden on medical leave.

Hayden is “kind of catatonic” and not ready to be interviewed, Brockett said. “He’s just very much in shock.”

Doug Fletcher, a Dallas attorney representing Smith Industries, said Hayden is an Army reservist who has been driving for the company for two years and may have driven in the parade before.

Hayden is undergoing “professional counseling,” Fletcher said. “He is beyond distraught.”

Fletcher said the company is taking steps to protect the driver after he received “some hate emails.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Organizers confident of safe race

    BOSTON — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week....

    April 17, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Supremacist faces murder charges

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The white supremacist charged in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday....

    April 16, 2014

  • Iran cuts nuclear weapons ability

    VIENNA — The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade ...

    April 16, 2014

  • People with old Social Security debts get reprieve

    WASHINGTON — People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve — for now....

    April 16, 2014

  • Solemn tributes mark anniversary

    BOSTON — Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Questions linger year after bombs

    BOSTON — A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded....

    April 15, 2014

  • Feds abruptly end roundup

    Federal land managers abruptly ended the roundup of cattle on public land in southern Nevada owned by a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority, citing a “serious concern” for the safety of employees and the public....

    April 13, 2014

  • Calif. crash probe includes limiting bus fires

    ORLAND, Calif. — A new twist was added to the investigation of a crash involving a tour bus and FedEx tractor-trailer that killed 10 people when a couple said the big rig already was on fire when it careened across a median and sideswiped ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Disappointment, forgiveness mix in La.

    MONROE, La. — To Louisiana voters accustomed to tawdry scandals involving elected officials, disappointment with an eye toward forgiveness is the prevailing sentiment about their new congressman, caught on video embracing an aide married ...

    April 13, 2014