Signals controller sentenced for Spain's worst rail crash
5 June 2006,
5 June 2006
MADRID – A signals controller was on Monday found guilty of causing the worst rail accident in Spanish history, but escaped going to prison.
José Luis Díaz, 41, was found guilty of professional negligence in the cases of 19 people who died and 48 who were injured in the June 2003 crash in Chinchilla near Albacete, south-east Spain.
The tragedy happened in 3 June 2003 when a goods train from Murcia to Madrid and a passenger train, carrying 82 passengers, going the other way, collided.
At a court in Albacete, Judge Jaime de Lamo concluded on Monday that Diaz had put on a green signal light which instructed a high speed train to run on the same track as a goods train travelling in the opposite direction.
In a statement, the judge ruled out a failure in security measures, describing the head-on collision as due to "human error" and "a clear breach in the duty of care".
He sentenced Diaz to two years' prison, which means, under Spanish law he will not have to serve his sentence. The judge took into account the fact that Diaz had tried to stop the trains when he realised his mistake and that Diaz is a father of two children, one of whom is disabled.
Judge De Lamo also banned Diaz from working as a signals controller for the next four years and ordered the insurance company Mapfre Industrial and Adif, the former Renfe, to take on civil liability for the accident.
Mapfre was ordered to pay 30 percent more compensation to victims than the amount planned for traffic accidents.
The family of the driver of the high speed train, who was among those who died in the accident, said it was happy with the verdict, which cleared the driver of blame.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news