Spain Train Crash – Driver Charged with Negligent Homicide

 

As the Royal Family prepare today to visit the scene of Spain’s worst Train crash, The driver of a train in northern Spain, killing 79 people, has been reportedly charged with multiple cases of negligent homicide.

Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was charged on Sunday night after appearing for two hours before Judge Luis Alaez.

The 52-year-old is suspected of driving too fast on a dangerous section of the line near the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Reports suggest the train was travelling at around 190km per hour (120mph), more than twice the 80km per hour (50mph) speed limit when it entered the bend.

Garzon, who was pictured staggering from the wreckage with blood pouring from a head wound, has refused to make a statement or answer questions about the crash.

His court appearance was closed and the judge decided to free him on bail. He will be required to check in regularly with the court and surrender his passport and is banned from driving trains for six months, according to reports.

Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon
The injured driver is led away from the crash site

The hearing comes as Spain announced a person injured in the crash has now died.

Authorities said forensic experts have identified the last three bodies of the 78 people already confirmed killed when the intercity train derailed and smashed into a concrete wall.

They did not reveal the victims’ names but said their families had been informed.

A resident of the town where the train crashed has claimed Garzon admitted going fast and said he “wanted to die” in the aftermath of the crash.

In a television interview broadcast on Spain’s Antena 3, Evaristo Iglesias said he and another person accompanied Garzon to a stretch of flat ground where other injured people were being laid out, waiting for emergency services to arrive.

Santiago Train Crash Driver Attends Preliminary Court Hearing
Investigating judge Luis Alaez is due to question the train driver

Mr Iglesias said: “He told us that he wanted to die.”

He added that Garzon said he “had been going fast” and “he said he had needed to brake but couldn’t”.

An American passenger, Stephen Ward, said he was watching the train’s speed on a screen in the carriage, which indicated it was going at 194km per hour (121mph) moments before derailing.

Officials have so far not said how fast the train was going when it derailed and it is not clear whether the brakes failed or were never used.

The “black box” that records journey data is with the investigating judge.

All eight carriages of the train, packed with 218 passengers, careered off the track on the express route between Madrid and Ferrol on the Galician coast.

Flowers at scene of Spain train crash
The train wreckage remains at the crash scene near Santiago de Compostela

The train cut through electricity lines and leaking diesel fuel burst into flames in some carriages.

At least 130 people were taken to hospital after the crash, with dozens remaining in a critical condition.

Five US citizens and one Briton were among the injured and one American was among the dead.

Two separate investigations are being carried out into the catastrophe – one to look into possible failings by the driver and the other to examine the train’s in-built speed regulation systems and see if it was a technical malfunction that meant the driver was not warned of the reduced speed limit around the bend.

The train crash is the worst Spain has experienced since a three-train accident in a tunnel in the northern Leon province in 1944.

Due to heavy censorship at the time, the exact death toll for the Torre del Bierzo disaster has never been established.

The official figure was given as 78 dead, but it is thought that as many as 250 could have been killed.

 

Source – Sky News

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