Criminal Negligence Charges Laid in Lac-Megantic Rail Disaster
Criminal negligence charges are being laid against Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) Railway and 3 of its employees in relation to the July 6, 2013 runaway oil train derailment, explosion and fire that killed 47 people, leveled much of downtown Lac-Megantic and spilled 5.5 to 6.5 million litres of crude oil (Edmonton Journal).
The rail company and Thomas Harding, the lone engineer in charge of the train; Jean DeMaitre, MMA’s manager of train operations; and Richard Labrie, MMA’s railway traffic controller, each face 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death. If convicted, the maximum sentence for a person is life in prison, and there is also a possibility of fines. For the railway company, if convicted, there are no minimum or maximum fines – it’s all up to the judge. The police investigation is ongoing and it is possible additional charges could be laid.
The Lac-Megantic rail disaster was one of the worst in Canadian history, and one of the largest environmental disasters in North American history.