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Spain train crash driver leaves court

Sunday, July 28, 2013 - 00:33

July 28 - The driver of a Spanish train that derailed killing 79 people is released from police custody but still faces charges. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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STORY: The driver of a Spanish high-speed train that derailed and killed 79 people was released pending trial on charges of reckless homicide, a judge ruled on Sunday night. Francisco Garzon, 52, had been under arrest since Thursday. 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. In a closed-door hearing before Judge Alaez, Garzon admitted taking the curve too fast, blaming it on a momentary lapse, according to media reports. Alaez set the following conditions of release: Garzon must check in regularly with the court, surrender his passport and not drive trains. None of the parties in the case, which include state train operator Renfe, state railway firm Adif and two insurance companies, had asked for Garzon to be jailed pending trial, and he was not seen as a flight risk, the court statement said. At 8:41 p.m. on Wednesday the eight-carriage, high-speed train slammed into a concrete wall, crumpled, and some of the cars caught fire. The impact was so strong that one of the carriages was thrown several meters high over an embankment. The death toll from Spain's worst train disaster in decades rose to 79 after one injured person - a woman from the United States - died on Sunday. Seventy people remain hospitalized with injuries from the crash, 22 are in critical condition.

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Spain train crash driver leaves court

Sunday, July 28, 2013 - 00:33