MIDLAND, Texas — A 50-year-old Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was driving a parade float that investigators say edged across a railroad crossing in Texas despite warning signals of a fast-approaching train, an attorney said Tuesday.
Four veterans were killed in the resulting collision in Midland on Thursday. Sixteen people were injured.
Dale Andrew Hayden was driving one of two flatbed trucks carrying wounded veterans and their loved ones in the procession to honor the war heroes, said Hal Brockett, Hayden’s attorney.
‘‘Words can’t express the sorrow and remorse for the people who got hurt and killed,’’ Brockett said in an interview Tuesday.
Investigators say the float began crossing the train tracks even though warning bells were sounding and the crossing lights were flashing. A Union Pacific train traveling at more than 60 miles per hour ran into the truck as the occupants scrambled to jump to safety.
Hayden, who has a military career spanning more than three decades, works as a truck driver for Smith Industries, an oilfield services company. Brockett said the company placed Hayden on medical leave.
Hayden is ‘‘kind of catatonic’’ and not ready to be interviewed, Brockett said. ‘‘He’s just very much in shock.’’
Doug Fletcher, a Dallas attorney representing Smith Industries, said Hayden is an Army reservist who has been driving for the company for two years.