NTSB: Train That Hit Texas Vets' Float Under Speed Limit

Dec. 05--The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on the Nov. 15 train crash in Midland that killed four wounded veterans and injured many others.

The train struck a float operated by Show of Support in a parade on the way to a Hunt for Heroes reception in Midland. Wounded veterans and their wives were on the float at the time of the collision.

Much of the report contains information already publicly available and not in dispute.

A 50-year-old Army veteran, Dale Andrew Hayden, was driving a tractor trailer across the intersection of Garfield Street and the railroad at about 4:35 p.m. Nov. 15.

According to the report, Hayden was driving the truck at about 5 mph with 24 passengers on the float as the truck entered the railroad crossing.

The 84-car train, with four locomotives, was operated by a 35-year-old engineer and a 27-year-old conductor, according to the report, and external cameras and microphones recorded the train going 62 mph on a track that restricts speed to 70 mph.

According to the report, the engineer sounded the horn and used emergency train brakes, traveling 4,143 feet before coming to a stop.

As the train went through the crossing, the front right corner of the train struck the right rear of the trailer, according to the report.

The trailer then was moved about 30 feet to the south side of the crossing as a result of the collision, according to the report, when that trailer then struck a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria. A Midland County Sheriff's Office deputy was in the vehicle when it was struck.

According to the report, four float passengers were killed, five were seriously injured, and eight float passengers and the deputy suffered minor injuries.

The report does not provide additional information placing blame or giving information on whether crossing gates and lights were working before the crash.

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