Spain Train Derailment: 79 Counts of Homicide Filed Against Driver (Video)

Image: Spain Train Derailment: 79 Counts of Homicide Filed Against Driver (Video)

Monday, 29 Jul 2013 08:06 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Francisco Jose Garzon, the driver in the deadly Spain train derailment last week, was charged with 79 counts of homicide Sunday after officials determined that his recklessness led to the crash.

Garzon, 52, was granted conditional release Sunday night, but his passport was confiscated and he must report to court weekly. His license to operate a train has also been suspended for six months, CNN reported.

The veteran driver was at the helm of the eight-car train, which was carrying about 200 passengers, when it careened around a corner near Santiago de Compostela Wednesday evening, then jumped the tracks and crashed into a wall. The accident was Spain's worst train crash since 1972, when 86 people were killed in the southwest of the country.

The death toll hit 79 Sunday after another victim died at a hospital.

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Garzon faces 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness, and admitted to a judge over the weekend that he acted irresponsibly, The Guardian reported.

Some reports claim that the train was traveling more than twice the speed limit for the stretch of track where the crash occurred.

Rafael Catala, Spain's secretary of state for transport and housing, told Spanish radio network Cadena SER last week that the "tragedy appears to be linked to the train going too fast."

It seems Garzon may have a penchant for speed. Last year, he allegedly posted on Facebook a photo of a train's speedometer clocked in at 125 mph, the New York Times reported.

"Imagine what a rush it would be traveling alongside the Civil Guard, and passing them so that their speed traps go off," he wrote, in all capitals. "Hehe, that would be quite a fine for [employer Spanish rail company] Renfe, hehe."

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Related stories:

78 Dead in Worst Spanish Train Crash in Decades

Train Crash Kills at Least 77, Injures 140 in Spain; Terrorism Ruled Out

Driver Focus of Probe in Spain Train Crash  

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