Parade Float in Crash with Train was Driven by Veteran
On Thursday, November 15, 2012, in Midland, Texas, they had a parade to honor veterans. A parade to honor veterans is a wonderful, good thing to do.
The parade was going to end with a Hunt for Heroes banquet that would honor the veterans. Then, the wounded service members were going to be treated to a deer-hunting trip on the weekend.
The events were organized by a local veterans group in Midland that is known as Show Of Support. However, the events were cancelled due to a horrible accident that no one could have dreamed would take place.
Floats carrying veterans
There were two flatbed tractor-trailer floats that were carrying veterans and their wives in the parade. The route for the parade was to end at a banquet hall on the other side of some railroad tracks.
The first flatbed tractor-trailer went across the railroad crossing with no trouble. However, investigators say that the second float started to cross the tracks even though the crossing lights started flashing and the warning bells were sounding.
The crossing gates came down on the float. According to one witness, the crossing gates were bouncing up and down on people sitting on the float.
More than 60 mph
Then, a Union Pacific Corp. freight train seemed to appear from out of nowhere, bearing down on the float at more than 60 mph with its horn blaring. Some of the people that were seated on the float were able to jump off of the float before the train crashed into it with a thunderous crack and a low whoosh.
However, other people were not so lucky. Four veterans were killed in the collision, and 16 other people were injured. Pronounced dead at the scene were Army Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer Michael, 37, and 47-year-old Army Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin. Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, and 43-year-old Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers were taken from the scene and later pronounced dead at Midland Memorial Hospital.
Spectators could only watch the horrible scene unfold. However, veterans were already attending to the wounded with limited medical supplies as medical help arrived.
Float driven by veteran
It has now been determined that the driver of the float that was struck by the train was an Army veteran himself, Dale Andrew Hayden. Hayden has a military career that spans more than three decades. He now works for Smith Industries, an oilfield services company.
Haydens attorney, Hal Brockett, said that Smith Industries has placed Hayden on medical leave. Brockett said that Hayden is kind of catatonic and is not ready to be interviewed. Hes just very much in shock. In an interview, Brockett said, Words cant express the sorrow and remorse for the people who got hurt and killed.
Dallas attorney, Doug Fletcher, who is representing Smith Industries, said that Hayden is an Army reservist who has been driving for the company for two years. In fact, Hayden may have driven in the parade before.
Hayden is undergoing professional counseling, Fletcher said. He is beyond distraught. Smith Industries is taking steps to protect Hayden. This is due to the fact that he has received some hate emails.