Spain train driver had a taste for speed

Jul 27, 2013, 01:57 IST | Agencies

One of the drivers of the train, that careered off the tracks and smashed into a concrete wall killing 78 people, had previously boasted about speeding on his Facebook page

The train driver did little to hide his taste for speed. He posted a photograph of a locomotive speedometer needle stuck at 200 kilometres, or about 125 miles per hour on Facebook last year, boasting that the reading “has not been tampered with” and openly relishing the idea of racing past the authorities.

Need for speed: Minutes after the crash, Francisco Jose Garzon was photographed being helped from his train's mangled remains by a medic, blood oozing onto his blue uniform from a wound on his head. Pic/AFP

“Imagine what a rush it would be travelling alongside the Civil Guard, and passing them so that their speed traps go off,” he wrote, in all capitals. “Hehe, that would be quite a fine for Renfe, hehe,” referring to his employer, the Spanish rail company.

Now that train driver, Francisco José Garzón Amo, a veteran with over three decades of experience, is under investigation by a judge in connection with one of Europe’s worst rail accidents in recent years.

A chilling video from a security camera, shows that the passenger train he was driving rounded a curve at high speed on Wednesday night, tumbling violently off the track, slamming against a curved wall and piling up in a twisted wreck.

On Thursday, it was reported that the driver had said the train’s speed had been more than double the limit in the stretch of track where the train derailed. On the day of the wreck, he took over from another driver just 60 miles before the crash.

Galicia police Chief Jaime Iglesias confirmed that the train driver is under police detention because of ‘a crime.’ When asked the follow-up question, “What crime?” he responded: “Well ... in connection to the accident, in connection with his recklessness, in connection with causing the accident.”

Meeting with the injured
Spain’s King Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia visited a hospital in Santiago de Compostela to meet some of those who were injured. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy also viewed the scene of devastation and visited the victims.

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