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Three former railway workers face charges in deadly Quebec train derailment

The 2013 derailment, explosion and fire killed 47 people and destroyed the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   May 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM   |   Comments

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LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, May 13 (UPI) --Three former railway employees will answer 47 charges each of criminal negligence in the derailment and explosion of an oil-carrying train last year in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

The government announced Monday the Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway, which has since been sold after it sought bankruptcy protection, and three former employees will be charged with criminal negligence causing death -- one count for each person who died when the train inadvertently rolled through the community and exploded.

Train engineer Tom Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie, and manager of train operations Jean Demaitre will be charged with offenses that each carries a maximum life sentence. They are scheduled to be in court Tuesday in Lac-Mégantic to face charges.

Harding's lawyer, Thomas Walsh, called his client's arrest a "huge show ... which I consider to be totally unnecessary."

Walsh said he told federal officials Harding would voluntarily surrender himself at court after he was charged. Instead, Walsh said, a heavily-armed SWAT team arrived at Harding's home "dressed in camouflage outfits, faces hidden and their guns drawn," to execute a warrant.

Harding is expected to plead not guilty.

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