The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 21, 2012

Army veteran drove float in parade crash

(Continued)

MIDLAND, Texas —

No one responded to a knock on the door at a mobile home listed as Hayden’s residence Tuesday.

At the NTSB sight distance test, a train pulling 10 cars rolled through the intersection, then was backed up about a half mile and driven right to the threshold of the crossing. The train wasn’t traveling at the same speed as the one that crashed Thursday. The same type of simulation was undertaken with the truck. NTSB investigators in yellow vests took photos.

Reporters watched from a parking lot that still has the painted outlines of where bodies were thrown from the parade float.

Midland police also are investigating the crash, but it’s not clear what, if any, criminal charges will be filed.

“I really can’t speculate as to what any charges might be,” said the county’s district attorney, Teresa Clingman, because the police “investigation is not complete.”

John Klassen, the U.S. attorney in Midland, said he’s unaware of any federal criminal authorities investigating the accident.

According to the NTSB, the railroad crossing warning system was activated 20 seconds before the accident, and the guardrail began to come down seven seconds after that.

But some Midland residents have said there isn’t enough time between when the signal begins and the trains arrive. They say guardrails aren’t completely down by the time a train comes by.

The Union Pacific freight train heading to Louisiana was estimated to be going at 62 mph at the time of the crash.

The veterans had been invited to Midland, a transportation and commerce hub in the West Texas oilfields, for a three-day weekend of hunting and shopping in appreciation of their service. A local charity, Show of Support, had organized the trip, parade and other festivities. Show of Support officials have declined to identify the driver.

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