Alvia train driver apologizes in accident trial


Santiago de Compostela (EFE).- Francisco José Garzón Amo, driver of the train that crashed in 2013 in Santiago with a death toll of 80 and almost a hundred and a half injured, again asked for forgiveness this Thursday, in his statement at trial, and he focused his defense on a security he then considered deficient.

“It was an accident and I couldn’t help it,” he said in the Cité de la Culture building hosting the hearing, where he particularly insisted that with the measures that are currently on the Santiago-Ourense line, a railway drama like the one he had never started, not even doing the same as him, going at twice the maximum allowed speed.

The conductor of train 04155 did not speak in his interrogation of having been distracted after the call of the listener on board, a term which he actually used during the heavy investigation phase during which there was a dance of accusations and a change of judges, but he admitted that after that the communication was misplaced and he thought he was a little before the bend where he hit the concrete wall hard.

“You can’t see curve A Grandeira early enough and the road is very monotonous, it digs tunnels every minute, and you can’t see the curve from the last tunnel. I braked before the curve signal, but it was next to impossible, because it’s nonsense to use that signal as a reference. You can’t go from 200 to 80 at that exact point,” he told the room.

The driver of the Alvia(i), during the accident trial taking place in Santiago de Compostela. EFE / Lavandeira Jr.

Garzón also said that he himself had already spoken to the area’s security chief about the drastic reduction in speed that had to be executed when approaching this point.

Criticizes the lack of security features

And, other than that, he pointed out, there was no advance signage requiring them to slow down. The 80 km/h limit was located “on the same curve”.

Garzón Amo, who collapsed at the beginning and end of the 55 minutes in which he testified, answering only questions from his lawyer, Manuel Prieto, blamed this lack of instructions and assured that he had not received either specific training for high-speed traffic on this route or any preparation for the use of company cell phones.

Garzón Amo, a train driver since 2003 and linked to Renfe since December 1982 as a specialized worker, pointed out that he complied with the standard and, in this sense, stressed that there were no safety elements preventing him from ‘enter through Angrois at a speed that was much higher because.

In the last part of this day, the public prosecutor claimed to incorporate the previous statements of Garzón Amo when assessing the contradictions, which the public prosecutor maintained.

However, the presiding magistrate María Elena Fernández Currás saw no reason for this, so it will now be the Court that will resolve this question.

Speed, the key to the accident

Since Garzón Amo’s statement was so brief, today it could have been the other defendant’s turn, Andrés Cortabitartehead of road safety at Adif.

But at the time of alleging to his lawyer that he was not in the conditions because of the slight aggression suffered last Wednesday by the father of one of the victims, it was postponed.

That of Alvia will be a long test which will be centered on the responsibility of Garzón Amo, who faced the curve of A Grandeira at more than double the authorized speed (191 km/h against 80), and that of former traffic safety boss of Adif, Andrés Cortabitarte, in his case because of possible problems that could have affected safety.

Garzón and Cortabitarte are charged, respectively, with 80 deaths due to gross professional negligence, 145 injuries for the same reason and a crime of damage.


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