Ventura County

Arizona truck driver sentenced to 30 days in jail for causing fatal Oxnard train crash

NTSB: Driver was driving for nearly 24 hours

VENTURA, Calif. - A truck driver from Arizona who pleaded guilty to causing a fatal train crash in 2015 was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation on Wednesday.

Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 58, of Yuma, Ariz. pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in April.

On Feb. 24, 2015, Sanchez-Ramirez was driving along Rice Avenue in Oxnard when he made a right turn short of the intersection onto the railroad tracks. He continued to drive on the tracks until his vehicle became immobilized. He abandoned his vehicle and did not notify authorities.

A Metrolink commuter train collided with Sanchez-Ramirez's truck, injuring dozens of people and killing Glenn William Steele, one of the train's engineers.

Sanchez-Ramirez's lawyer said his client mistakenly turned onto the tracks and continued on the tracks hoping to find a spot to turn around. His lawyer said Sanchez-Ramirez did not have enough time to contact authorities before the crash.

The case was investigated by the Oxnard Police Department in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB concluded that Sanchez-Ramirez had been on duty for nearly 24 hours, with 17 of those hours spent driving between Somerton, Arizona to Oxnard. The NTSB also said that lack of familiarity with the area contributed to the crash.

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