Eleven murder charges have been filed against the man police say caused Wednesday's commuter train derailments that killed 11 people and injured nearly 200 others, the district attorney said.
Special circumstances of multiple murders and murder caused by train derailment were added to the charges against suspect Juan Manuel Alvarez, who police say parked his green Jeep Cherokee on the tracks near the Glendale Metrolink station in a suicide attempt but ran from the vehicle as a Metrolink commuter train approached at 6 a.m. That train, carrying as many as 50 people to Glendale from Moorpark, struck Alvarez' vehicle and then sideswiped a second Metrolink train and caused it to derail. One of the commuter trains struck a Union Pacific freight train laden with gravel and caused it to overturn.
The two special circumstances, if found true, would make Alvarez eligible for the death penalty. District Attorney Steve Cooley said Thursday that a decision to seek the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole had not been made.
Alvarez, 25, initially was charged with 10 counts of murder, but prosecutors amended the complaint to include an 11th victim, a woman who was pulled from the twisted and seared wreckage Wednesday night, authorities said.
Bigger ER Invaluable
Of the survivors treated at Verdugo Hills Hospital, most had broken bones, head injuries and lacerations, said spokeswoman Carol Stevenson. She said two passengers were admitted for an overnight stay and the rest were treated and released. One passenger was listed Wednesday in critical but stable condition, said Karen Anueven, director of Patient Care Services.