As his wife and lawyer rallied to his defense, Arizona truck driver Jose Alejandro Ramon-Sanchez learned today that he will not be charged in the accident he caused on Tuesday.
That truck accident derailed three train cars and injured 50 people, three critically, including the conductor. Ramon-Sanchez was found 45 minutes after the crash, 1.6 miles from the accident scene. He was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run for leaving the scene of an accident. The Ventura County District Attorney says that they do not intend to file charges at this time. This could all change if any of the critically injured take a turn for the worse. Interestingly enough, the doctor caring for the train conductor announced that his patient flat-lined two times yesterday. Since then, he has remained stable and is surrounded by his two sons.
Ramon-Sanchez always contended that it was all an accident. The truck driver was in California on a delivery. He was unfamiliar with the area, turned onto the railroad track and got his Ford F-450 lodged on the rails in the path of an oncoming train. He attempted to dislodge the truck, even driving it 80 feet down the tracks. These findings came from National Transportation Safety Board’s Robert Sumwalt who announced that the truck was not stuck. The NTSB does not usually investigate cases such as this, where there are no fatalities. However, this truck and train accident was so unusual, that the government agency felt that they had to inspect.
After the accident, Ramon-Sanchez’s was dazed and in a “distressed” state. His wife Lucila revealed that he is grieving the recent death of his daughter, who succumbed to cancer in July. Ramon-Sanchez and his wife are currently helping their son-in-law care for the motherless children, their grandchildren. Although she said that his grief was not a factor in his truck accident, it may explain his distressed state after he was found.
His lawyer, Ron Bamieh concurs that this was an accident, and was upset that police officers arrested their client so quickly afterwards. Ramon-Sanchez was not concerned about his court case when his lawyer consulted him. He only asked questions about the train passengers and their injuries.
In addition to his wife and lawyer, his employer, Growers Co. in Somerton, Arizona vouched for their 12-year employee. They said that he was a good employee who worked hard and was not a threat to society.
However, this truck driver has had a few run-ins with the law, including a DUI and a no-insurance charge. Still Ramon-Sanchez did the right thing by abandoning the truck and running. Initial reports were that his wife was traveling with him in his truck, but that is unclear now.
A recent spate of accidents by the MetroLink train line has forced officials to try new technology to their protect passengers. The trains are equipped with a collision avoidance system, which overrides human error in accidents.
In this case, the train conductor saw the truck on the tracks and applied the brakes, but could not avoid the accident. MetroLink also invested in specially designed train cars that absorb the energy of a crash, should the unthinkable happen.
By Danielle Branch