From the start of the investigation, police knew that the train was going 106 MPH at the curve that was rated for just 50 MPH. Some on the scene wanted to put the engineer under arrest right there. However, the NTSB stated that there could be other potential reasons other than engineer error for the high speed.
However, an NTSB investigator told the media over the weekend that the only possible way a train could accelerate would be if the engineer pushed the throttle forward.
The engineer of that train was familiar with the route, although he had only been using it for two weeks at the time of the crash. He told investigators that he felt he was fully qualified to operate the train in that corridor.
The final investigation of the accident will not be completed for months. It is far too early to say if criminal charges will be filed against the engineer. At this time, the police only have circumstantial evidence that he acted recklessly and no proof that he intentionally derailed the train.
While it is far too early to draw any conclusions in this train crash tragedy, our personal injury law firm in Virginia offers our deepest condolences to the victims in this crash. We sincerely hope that the cause of the crash is identified soon, and proper safeguards are put into place.
In some cases, railroad companies can cut corners on safety in the name of efficiency and profit. In a recent case, our legal team won a $1.5 million settlement for a railroad bridge worker whose leg was crushed as he was making a railroad bridge repair. The railroad admitted that it was liable for the accident, but tried to cut the damages to a mere $400,000. We took it to trial and the jury awarded our client the $1.5 million.