LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A train driver from the port of Los Angeles was arrested on Wednesday
, reportedly for overthrowing a locomotive at full speed near the USNS Mercy hospital ship, which was used to lighten hospital beds during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, has been accused of a serious crime that could lead to 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The lawsuit filed in the Federal Court of Los Angeles in Moreno admitted to authorities in two separate interviews that he intentionally crashed a PHL train near Mercy on Tuesday afternoon.
Prosecutors say that Moreno was arrested a little later and handed over to FBI agents early Wednesday morning.
According to the complaint, Moreno knocked the train off the track, hit a series of fences and ended up more than 250 metres from Mercy.
The Mercy is a 1,000 seater hospital ship that serves as a safety valve for hospitals overcrowded with coronavirus patients in the south of the country. No Covid-19 patients are being treated on the hospital ship. (Photo by Dennis Cantrell/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
No injuries or damage have been reported to Mercy. There was a fuel leak in the train as a result of which hazardous substances had to be cleaned.
According to the prosecutor, an officer of the California Highway Patrol witnessed the accident before he took Moreno into custody when he fled the crime scene.
An employee of the CHP who witnessed the accident reported that he saw a train crash into a concrete gate at the end of the track, which crashed into a steel gate, which fell into the chain link fence, which slid down into another gravel-filled slide and which crashed into the second chain link fence, according to the affidavit supporting the criminal case.
According to the court records, Moreno told a CHP employee that we only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to do it. People don’t know what’s going on. That’s what they’re gonna do now.
The train broke down near the harbour on Tuesday. (credit: CBS)
During the first interrogation with the port police, the public prosecutor stated that Moreno had confessed to the train accident, that he was suspected of mercy and that he had another goal in connection with KOVID-19, such as taking over power.
Moreno later stated in a second interview with FBI agents that he did it out of a desire to wake people up, according to the affidavit. Moreno said he thinks U.S. Mercy is a suspect in this case, and he doesn’t think the ship is what they’re talking about.
The affidavit indicated that the harbour police had watched the video footage from the cockpit of the train, which showed that the locomotive was clearly moving at a fast pace before it went through several gates and crashed into at least three wagons.
The second video shows Moreno with a burning torch in his cabin, according to the document.
A spokesman for the railway company’s company has read part of the statement:
Yesterday afternoon we received a message that at about 12:35 a PHL locomotive pulling a single wagon drove at high speed and then left the end of the cul-de-sac in the port of Los Angeles. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The driver was arrested and charged, and we are cooperating fully with all authorities in the investigation. PHL has resumed normal operations in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Moreno was to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon.