Garzón collapses when talking about the moment of the accident: “The first thing was to attend to the travelers and help them”
The driver of the Alvia, Francisco Garzón, has recounted before the judge Elena Fernández Currás how he experienced the accident of July 24, 2013 in the Compostela neighborhood of Angrois, his admission to the hospital and his time in the dungeon. “It is criminal that they take me out of the hospital with three broken ribs. And they had put a tube in me to remove the blood from my pleura”, he said, referring to his discharge and subsequent arrest, to explain that “in no way” was he in a position to give a statement.
Garzón, who declared this Thursday as a defendant on the second day of the trial for the incident that claimed the lives of 80 people and left 144 injured, has only responded to questions from his lawyer, Manuel Prieto, but has also exchanged words with the judge when requesting some clarifications about her story. The lawyer has conducted the interrogation about his professional life at Renfe since he entered in 1982 – he obtained the title of machinist in April 2013 – and until the day of the accident. The first moment in which his voice broke was to talk about the first seconds after the derailment of the Alvia in the A Grandeira curve.
“The first thing was to attend to the travelers and help them,” he said, in a broken way, after it was his lawyer who told how, with the accident, he was trapped between the irons of the locomotive and contacted the post Renfe command station in Atocha (Madrid). When asked by his lawyer about driving him to the hospital in Santiago, there was a first pause in his statement in which he asked for “forgiveness” up to three times. At that time, the judge intervened for the first time to ask him to be “calm”, to which the driver replied: “Yeah, but it’s impossible.”
Injuries did not let him lie down
As reported by his defense attorney, the injuries sustained in the accident did not allow him to “lie down”. Despite this, on July 27 — three days after the accident — he was discharged and taken to the dungeon, where he sat “on the floor” because he only had “a cot,” according to Prieto. “I requested a chair and they denied it to me,” Garzón confirmed.
The driver and the lawyer have also slipped that his discharge from hospital and his arrest was related to the press conference given the next day -July 28– by the Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz. However, the judge has clarified that “the minister does not arrest anyone” and that if he had been taken to jail it was “by orders of the investigating judge.”
At that time, Garzón has branded as “criminal” that he left the hospital “with three broken ribs” and the judge has warned him that this was not “the objective of the trial.” “If you have a complaint about the medical services that discharged you, you can file a complaint in the (relevant) forum,” he added.
Fernández Curras has also warned him that he was “leaving the doctors in a bad place”, something that the driver has been quick to deny: “No, no. If that has been understood, I apologize to the doctors».
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.