Murder conviction in Metrolink crash

LOS ANGELES, June 26 (UPI) -- The man who caused a deadly commuter train crash in Los Angeles three years ago was convicted Thursday of 11 counts of first-degree murder.

Juan Manuel Alvarez caused the Jan. 26, 2005, accident that killed 11 and injured at least 180 people by parking his vehicle on railroad tracks and leaving it there for a Metrolink commuter train to hit during morning rush hour traffic.


The jury also found the 29-year-old Compton, Calif., laborer guilty of arson and a special circumstance allegation that makes him eligible for the death penalty, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Authorities alleged that Alvarez doused his Jeep Cherokee with gasoline and parked it on the tracks hoping to cause a catastrophe.

A southbound Metrolink commuter train slammed into the car. The train derailed, struck a parked Union Pacific freight train then collided with a northbound Metrolink train.

Alvarez testified that he tried, but failed, to get his vehicle off the tracks.

"It was an accident," he said, "a stupid mistake."

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