NTSB Updates Train Wreck Investigation as Truck Driver is Released Without Charges

Jose Alejandro Sanchez Ramirez, generally referred to as "Alejandro" by friends and family, is being released from Ventura County Jail without charges. He was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of hit and run in the early Tuesday morning crash in Oxnard. He is to be released on his own recognizance. The District Attorney has decided no charges will be filed at this time. He wants to decide if they are appropriate after the investigations are completed. The complete statement from the DA is printed below.

Meanwhile, the NTSB held it's final local briefing before returning to Washington D.C. Thursday afternoon. Board member Robert Sumwalt said while here much was accomplished and work will continue on-site through the weekend before NTSB investigators head back to the nation's capital for months of follow-up work. Sumwalt said, so far they have recovered and downloaded the signal crossing recorder at the crash site and the one at the one right before it. They've checked all signage and pavement markings. All meet federal standards. The event data recording shows that the train's horn sounded 12-seconds before impact. The throttle moved to idle 11 seconds before impact.The train's emergency brake was put in place 8 seconds before impact.

Sumwalt also reported that, at the time of impact, the train was traveling at 56 miles an hour which is well below the 79 mph maximum. The could see the accident on color video from the front-facing camera. It was before 6am so it was dark, but they could see nearby roads with cars and their headlights, the red signal cross lights and the truck Sanchez Ramirez had driven. The door was open. They could not see him. They could see the truck was straddling the north rail in a way that would have been difficult to get off in time. They are looking at the account from Sanchez Ramirez's attorney that he drove onto the tracks thinking it was an asphalt road. Sumwalt said they want to find out why he thought the place he turned, 55 feet north of the actual road, was the road he wanted. That's important, he says, to determine if new signage may be needed. The NTSB probe could take 12 months.

STATEMENT:

District Attorney Gregory Totten announced Thursday that no charges will be filed at this time against Jose Alejandro Sanchez Ramirez in connection February 24, 2015 metrolink grade-crossing collision and train derailment in Oxnard, California.

The ongoing investigation is complex and involves numerous local and federal agencies, including the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, Oxnard Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The DA must wait until the investigation is completed before making a formal decision regarding filing charges. While the charges will not be filed at this time, the arrest of Jose Alejandro Sanchez Ramirez by the Oxnard Police Department was clearly appropriate and lawful.

Under these circumstances, the district attorney will not provide further comment until the investigation is complete.


RELATED: Metrolink Train Slowly Derails Near LA's Union Station, No One Injured
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