LOS ANGELES, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A man accused of driving his sports utility vehicle onto railroad tracks, causing a three-way train crash in Southern California, may face the death penalty.
Twenty-six-year-old Juan Manuel Alvarez has been charged with 11 counts of murder and arson for the Jan. 26 Metrolink crash. Prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty, reported the Los Angeles Times Saturday.
Alvarez said the incident -- in which a commuter train struck Alvarez's SUV, derailed and slammed into another commuter train and a freight train -- was an aborted suicide attempt and that it was not his intention to hurt anyone.
Eric Chase, Alvarez's attorney, said prosecutors would have a hard time getting the death penalty.
"There's no evidence he intended or wanted anybody to die, and that's just not appropriate with the death penalty in my opinion," Chase said.
Police said Alvarez's actions were deliberate and did not match the behavior of someone trying to commit suicide -- he told police he wanted to be hit by a train but he then changed his mind and left his vehicle.