- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2013

The driver of the train that flew off the tracks in the northwest region of Spain earlier this week was arrested late Thursday evening, authorities confirming he was warned to slow just seconds before the crash that killed 78 and injured dozens.

On Friday, police said they weren’t yet ready to interrogate him, the U.K. Guardian reported.

Investigators now have the train’s black box, too, and have begun to analyze its contents for clues into the derailment. But what they know already is that Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, 52, the driver at the time of the wreck, had a historic love of speed and that he was told to slow down right before the curve where the derailment occurred, the Guardian said.

In a call to emergency service providers shortly after the crash, Mr. Garzon said: “I should have been going at 80 [kilometers per hour], and I am going at 190. Let’s hope there aren’t any dead,” the Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, a look at Mr. Garzon’s Facebook page shows references of his love for speed. Last year, he posted a photograph of a train’s speedometer needle at 125 miles per hour, claiming that the reading “has not been tampered with” — and suggesting that he enjoyed flying by authorities, The New York Times reported.

The local El Pais reported that Mr. Garzoln acknowledged receipt of a company order to reduce his speed just seconds before he headed into a tight track curve, the Telegraph reported. What wasn’t clear was whether he ignored the order, or whether he was unable to slow the train in time to avoid the crash.

The train derailed just outside Santiago de Compostela, and authorities estimate it was traveling at twice the approved speed during impact.

The death count stood at 78 on Friday, including one American. But authorities warned that number could change. Emergency responders are still recovering bodies — and body parts — and say six corpses are unidentifiable, the Guardian reported.



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