Francisco José Garzón Amo, the driver who was arrested after his train crashed in Spain on July 24 killing 79 passengers, has admitted that he was on the phone at the time of the crash.

The train was making its way from Madrid to Ferrol when it derailed while going around a bend in Santiago de Compostela. Immediately following the crash, Amo reportedly told officials that the train had been traveling at 95 miles per hour, 45 miles over the 50 miles per hour speed limit. When Amo realized the train was going too fast, he put on the brakes, but it was too late, and the train derailed before crashing into a wall.

Investigators looking into the accident retrieved two data black boxes from the train – one from the front, one from the back – and, based on evidence found, deduced that Amo had, indeed, been carrying on a phone conversation at the time of the crash. According to reports by the New York Times, Amo was on the phone with Renfe, the Spanish national railway company and had been “reading a map or some kind of paper document” distracting him from slowing down the train.

Amo was arrested in his hospital bed and has reportedly been charged with 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness. Amo has since been released on condition that he give up his passport and make weekly check-ins with the court. His license to drive a train is suspended for a period of six months, according to CNN.

Directly after the crash, Amo called Renfe and reportedly told them, “I want to die.”

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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Spain Train Crash: Driver Francisco José Garzón Amo Arrested

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