MIDLAND (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — After a yearlong investigation, federal investigators are blaming a lack of safety planning for a deadly collision involving a train and a parade float full of veterans in Midland.
The investigation names the parade organizers and the city of Midland as the primary culprits.
“This terrible collision between a fast-moving freight train and a slow-rolling parade float of veterans and their loved ones should never have occurred,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman at a Board meeting Tuesday. “Parade and event organizers must identify and manage hazards in advance to ensure a safe outcome for participants and spectators.”
Four veterans were killed, and 11 veterans and their wives were injured when a Union-Pacific freight train rammed into the tractor-trailer truck on Nov. 15, 2012. The parade was to end at a “Hunt for Heroes” banquet honoring the veterans.
At a review meeting, investigators told the National Transportation Safety Board that the accident could have been prevented if the city had required parade organizers to have a safety plan.
They said organizers didn’t have a permit, and the city didn’t require the safety plan.
The driver of the float, Dale Andrew Hayden, was cleared of charges by a grand jury in January. Hayden told federal investigators that the oncoming train appeared to be stationary.
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