Spanish train driver charged with 79 counts of homicide

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:57pm EDT

A police car arrives at the courthouse with Francisco Garzon inside in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

A police car arrives at the courthouse with Francisco Garzon inside in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Miguel Vidal

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain (Reuters) - The driver of a Spanish high-speed train that derailed was charged with 79 counts of homicide and released pending trial, after appearing before a judge on Sunday evening.

Francisco Garzon, 52, had been under arrest since Thursday, a day after the worst train crash in Spain in decades. He is suspected of driving the train too fast through a tight curve on the outskirts of the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

Examining Magistrate Luis Alaez formally charged Garzon with "79 counts of homicide and numerous offences of bodily harm, all of them committed through professional recklessness," the court said in a statement.

Judge Alaez took two hours of testimony from Garzon in a closed-door hearing on Sunday evening.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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