Fatal Train Crash Under Investigation

Late last month, a commuter train crash led to 30 serious personal injuries. Now, the top prosecutor in Ventura County is deciding whether or not to bring criminal charges, according to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report.

Train accidents and derailments can be devastating, often resulting in severe and fatal injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a train collision, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer. You may be able to file a claim for compensation.

Details of the Train Accident

What happened in Oxnard? According to reports, three out of five train cars on a Metrolink commuter train derailed after it crashed into a truck in the early hours of the morning. Images from the crash show that the derailed cars “tumbled onto their sides,” leaving four people with critical injuries. Investigators initially arrested the truck driver, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, for “leaving the scene of an injury accident.” Given that many Southern California cities have witnessed a rise in hit-and-run accidents over the last year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that law enforcement agencies are taking the train crash very seriously.

Investigators have indicated that they continue to seek information about the crash, and a video of the train derailment was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. for additional analysis, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. By and large, investigators aren’t exactly sure how the accident happened.

Sanchez-Ramirez argues that, while driving his Ford F-450 truck and trailer over the track, it “became stuck,” and Sanchez-Ramirez “tried unsuccessfully to get it moving again.” When he saw the train coming, he got out of the vehicle and “ran for help,” his attorney indicated. The driver’s lawyer pointed out that Sanchez-Ramirez did all that he could to prevent the accident, as he “turned on his high beams and tried to extricate the truck from the tracks, even getting out to push it, but it wouldn’t move.”

Reports indicate that the Metrolink train crashed into the truck, turning Sanchez-Ramirez’s vehicle into “a fireball,” which resulted in 28 passengers being rushed to nearby hospitals. The train engineer, in addition to two other passengers, remained in critical condition as of late last week.

Liability for the Dangerous Crash

Who is liable for the accident? Sanchez-Ramirez’s initial arrest suggests that the truck driver may have behaved not only negligently, but also criminally, when he fled the scene. However, investigators have emphasized that they need to finish their investigation before any decisions will be made about a criminal prosecution.

We do know that the police located Sanchez-Ramirez more than a mile from the scene of the crash. The driver also has a history of traffic violations, including a DUI, failure to obey a police officer, and failure to obey a traffic control device.

Even if prosecutors don’t elect to file criminal charges, the driver still may be liable for damages. When a loved one suffers injuries in a serious automobile accident, it’s important to talk with an experienced California accident lawyer about your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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