Skip to main content

Judge in Spain train crash widens charges to rail infrastructure firm

By Laura Perez Maestro and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
August 21, 2013 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
 A woman watches the memorial service for the victims of the crash, at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral on July 29, 2013.
A woman watches the memorial service for the victims of the crash, at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral on July 29, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Judge widens charges to individuals at Spain's state-run rail infrastructure firm, Adif
  • The charges are against those responsible for track safety at the site of the crash
  • Driver Francisco Jose Garzon already faces preliminary charges in the derailment
  • The derailment, near Santiago de Compostela, killed 79 people, injured scores more

Madrid (CNN) -- The judge in charge of the investigation into a horrific train crash in Spain last month has presented preliminary charges against the state-run rail infrastructure company, Adif.

Until now, attention has focused on the driver of the train, which derailed near the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela, killing 79 people and injuring scores more.

Read more: Rail chiefs quizzed over safety

Francisco Jose Garzon faces 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness and an undetermined number of counts of causing injury by professional recklessness.

But preliminary charges have now also been filed by Judge Luis Alaez Legeren against "the person or persons from ADIF responsible for the traffic safety in the stretch of the rail line between the stations of Ourense and Santiago on July 24," according to documents posted on a court website Tuesday.

Court: Train driver on phone during crash
Pilgrims mourn Spain train crash victims

It's not yet clear who the individuals are.

The judge also requested more information on traffic safety and speed limits on that stretch of line from both Adif and state railroad company Renfe, and asked the Transport Ministry for details of any other incidents there.

A spokeswoman for Adif declined to comment on the charges Wednesday but told CNN the company would work with authorities as far as possible.

Garzon took control of the train at Ourense station, about 35 minutes before the crash occurred, a senior rail official told lawmakers during a rail safety briefing called after the disaster.

Lawmakers heard that the route the train was on, from Madrid to Ferrol, includes a mix of conventional and high-speed track, with the latter allowing high-speed trains to travel at over 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph.)

Two different safety systems are used in Spain: the European Rail Traffic Management System for the high-speed track and another known as ASFA on conventional lines.

The train and its engineer were switching between the two kinds of track and operating system in the course of the journey. One such transition occurred shortly before the crash.

Court officials have said the train was traveling at 153 kph (95 mph) when it derailed, nearly twice the speed limit on the curve where the accident happened.

The driver, Garzon, has been given conditional release while the investigation continues but has surrendered his passport.

CNN's Laura Perez Maestro reported from Madrid, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT