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Spanish train driver ignored 3 warnings to slow down prior to deadly crash

Train conductor Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was on a phone call and speeding well above the limit before the derailment that killed 79.

Francisco Jose Garzon driverEnlarge
Wounded train driver Francisco Jose Garzon is evacuated from the scene of a train crash near the city of Santiago de Compostela on July 24, 2013. (MONICA FERREIROS /AFP/Getty Images)

Investigators have found that the Spanish train driver involved in the deadly crash that killed 79 in Galicia ignored three warnings to slow down, only applying the brakes when a derailment was inevitable. 

Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was speaking on the phone with a colleague when he recieved the first automatic warning to reduce his speed, and recieved a last warning only 250 meters (820 feet) before the curve in the railway that caused the trash, The Associated Press reported citing a court statement.

Read more from GlobalPost: Train crash overshadows biggest day for Spain's Santiago de Compostela

The train was speeding at 121 miles per hour — far above the 50 mph limit.

Garzon was only able to reduce the speed to 95 mph as he slammed down the brakes, right before the deadly crash, according to the AP. Soon, the train derailed and dozens were killed. 

Garzon, 52, said he doesn't feel he's to blame for the deadly accident, although he's shaken, according to Agence France-Presse. "I am pretty well physically and injured psychologically," he said. 

Images of Garzon being led from the scene with a bleeding head injury were spread across the media following the accident. 

"I can't explain it," Garzon said of the accident. "I still don't understand how I didn't see ... mentally, or whatever. I just don't know."

The conductor was on the phone with a ticket inspector at the time of the accident. A presiding judge said that although the timing of the phone call was unfortunate, it wasn't criminal cause to charge the ticket inspector. 

He has been accused of negligent homicide but has been released without bail, pending a trial. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/spain/130803/spanish-train-driver-ignored-three-warnings-slow-down-prio