Driver of Spanish Train Charged with 79 Counts of Homicide After Fatal Crash

A mass memorial is planned for Monday evening to celebrate the lives of 79 passengers who were killed last week while riding aboard a Spanish train that derailed. New video footage of the derailment has been obtained by ABC and shows just how devastating the crash was.



The train was near its destination of Ferrol when it took a curve around a bend in the tracks. Experts who have reviewed the video say that the critical point happens when the second car in the train begins to leave the tracks with the subsequent cars, and also the engine, following. The train cars slammed into a concrete barrier and came to a rest off the tracks. While investigators are still combing through the wreckage, it is believed that 79 people have died and that more than 70 other remain hospitalized five days later. Though dozens of additional passengers were hurt, they have been treated and released at this point in time.

With no apparent malfunction of the train itself or the tracks, the initial investigation focused on the speed of the train at the time of the derailment. The driver of the train reportedly admitted that he was driving at about 120 miles per hour as he entered the bend. Though the tracks accommodate high speed rail and some sections allow for travel up to 155 miles per hour, the bend in question had a maximum speed limit of about 55 miles per hour. If true, the driver was traveling at more than twice the legal speed as he entered the curve. Several news outlets are now reporting that the train driver may have been on the phone at the time of the accident.Authorities successfully recovered the data recorders from the train and those are being analyzed by forensic experts as police attempt to piece together the crash facts. They are confident in the driver’s role in the crash, though, and on Sunday charged the man with 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness and an undetermined number of counts related the injuries he caused. He was arrested but has been granted conditional release with the requirement that he surrender his passport and appear in court weekly. His license to operate a train has been suspended for at least six months and may be permanently revoked pending the outcome of the investigation.

The victims of the crash include residents of Spain, Europe, Latin America, and two from the United States. Not all of the bodies have been identified and therefore cannot be released to the families yet but officials are hopeful that this will happen soon.

This crash is a reminder of how the negligence of one individual can change thousands of lives forever. In addition to those that were injured and killed in this crash, the families and friends of the deceased are victims and will never be able to see their loved ones again. While this train accident happened in Spain, it could have happened anywhere, including Illinois.

If you or a loved on has been the victim of a train accident, you have rights and you may be entitled to monetary relief. Call the Chicago train accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. and let us provide you with a free telephone consultation regarding your case. We also offer free in-home and in-hospital consultations for those who are too injured to make a trip to our offices, so call us today at (312) 924-7575 and let us help you.

Prior Blog Entries:

First Guilty Plea for Felony Vehicular Manslaughter Charge from Bicycle versus Pedestrian Crash, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 27, 2013.

Guilty Plea from Burbank Man Charged with DUI Death, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 25, 2013.


Spanish train driver charged with 79 counts of homicide, but questions remain, by Karl Penhaul and Holly Yan, CNN, published July 29, 2013.

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