A truck driver accused of the derailment of a California Metrolink train last year was charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor, prosecutors said Monday.
Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 55, of Arizona, was arrested on a hit-and-run charge last year after the Feb. 24, 2015 crash, which killed a train engineer and injured 34 people, on the Ventura County Line tracks between Camarillo and Oxnard.
Sanchez-Ramirez's truck, which was towing a trailer, got stuck on the tracks. The Los Angeles-bound train barreled into the truck and derailed. The truck burst into flames.
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Police discovered Sanchez-Ramirez a mile away from the crash site, visibly disoriented. He was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, but was released after prosecutors declined to file charges and opted to wait for the outcome of the investigation.
While Bamieh said he did "all he could" to try to get the truck off the tracks and notify authorities, prosecutors said, "he did not notify authorities of his predicament prior to the crash."
A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board said the driver mistakenly drove onto the tracks instead of a street, which Ron Bamieh, Sanchez-Ramirez's attorney, said was common.
Sanchez-Ramirez, who had driven from Arizona for a job in Oxnard, was making the route that day to familiarize himself with the area, his attorney said.
Sanchez-Ramirez faces up to one year in jail and is scheduled to be arraigned March 23.