No charges against driver of float on which 4 killed

Four veter­ans were killed when Dale Hay­den’s ve­hi­cle was hit by a train.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Betsy Blaney SU­SAN WALSH / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS ‘I think it speaks to the im­por­tance of par­ents to al­ways mon­i­tor your kids and what they’re do­ing on so­cial me­dia.’ Art Acevedo, Con­tact Ben­jamin Wermund at 246-1150. Twit­ter: @Ben­jam­inew. Ad­di­tional ma­te­ria

Of­fi­cials wouldn’t say Fri­day why they won’t pur­sue crim­i­nal charges against the driver of a pa­rade float that col­lided with a train in Mid­land, killing four mil­i­tary veter­ans.

City spokes­woman Sara Hig­gins said the po­lice report isn’t fin­ished but that in­ves­ti­ga­tors “wanted to get it out” that Mid­land res­i­dent Dale An­drew Hay­den, 50, won’t be charged. She said the rea­sons would be ex­plained in the com­pleted report. It is ex­pected to be done in the next week. The report will then go to the district at­tor­ney, Hig­gins said.

Hay­den was driv­ing a flatbed truck car­ry­ing wounded veter­ans and their wives in a Nov. 15 pa­rade when it was hit by a Union Pa­cific train trav­el­ing 62 mph. The Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board says Hay­den ven­tured onto the track af­ter the warn­ing sig­nals had started flash­ing and be­fore the arms had de­scended.

The NTSB said the de­vice was ac­ti­vated within 20 sec­onds of the train’s ar­rival, the min­i­mum stan­dard re­quired by fed­eral reg­u­la­tions. How­ever, Texas De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion doc­u­ments made pub­lic last month in­di­cate that the de­vice was de­signed to ac­ti­vate at 30 sec­onds.

Mid­land County pros­e­cu­tor Steve Stallings said the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice would re­view the report and then make a de­ci­sion on po­ten­tial charges.

“We do it all the time,” Stallings said of cases in which po­lice don’t pur­sue charges but the district at­tor­ney de­cides oth­er­wise. “If it es­tab­lishes some­one is crim­i­nally cul­pa­ble, we’ll present it to a grand jury. If we be­lieve that of­fense is a felony, sure we will.”

Hay­den’s at­tor­ney, Hal Brock­ett, did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a call seek­ing com­ment Fri­day.

po­lice chief me­dia use, other than pro­hibit­ing per­sonal use.

Garza is in jail with bail set at $15,000, Acevedo said.

Cather­ine Stouf­fer, flanked by chil­dren Shan­non, 17, and Shane, 12, watches as the cas­ket of her hus­band, Marine Chief War­rant Of­fi­cer 3 Gary L. Stouf­fer, is car­ried Fri­day at Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery. Stouf­fer, 37, was killed Nov. 15.

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