ON Tuesday October 27, public prosecutors called for a four-year jail sentence for Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, the driver responsible for one of Spain’s worst rail disasters.
The accident that happened on July 24 2013 claimed 80 people’s lives after the high-speed train went off rails and crashed into a siding near Santiago de Compostela. Victims’ families are to receive €42.9 million (£31.4 million) in compensation.
Investigations found that Garzon was driving the train while talking on the phone shortly before the crash. The public prosecutor’s office said in a statement: “In terms of civil responsibility, for death, injuries and damages, the public prosecutor’s office asks that the victims of the accident receive compensation of 42,898,962 euros.” The statement also added that Garzon be charged for 80 accounts of reckless homicide, 144 counts of injury, be banned for driving trains for five years, and in addition to four years in jail.
Charges were dropped against several other officials that judges had interrogated. Victims’ families demanded a parliamentary commission to investigate what caused the crash as the driver was not the only one responsible.
The court said on October 7: “The direct and immediate cause, which decidedly set in motion the unfortunate accident… was excessive speed.”
Garzon wrote a letter last year begging for forgiveness from the victims’ families, saying he was ‘destroyed’ by the tragedy.