State prosecutors have deemed a railway dispatcher responsible for a fatal collision involving two trains that occurred in the German state of Bavaria earlier this year.
The dispatcher was allegedly playing a cell phone game right up until the moment the accident occurred. The collision killed 11 people and injured 80, according to the New York Times.
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Not only did the unnamed 39-year-old employee violate rules of his job by using his phone, but he also caused a terrible tragedy that affected so many innocent people.
“The latest investigation shows that, in violation of the railway work rules, the accused switched on his mobile phone during his shift on the morning of the accident, started an online computer game and played actively for an extended period of time until shortly before the collision,” prosecutors said in a statement.
“On the basis of the timing, one must assume that the attention of the accused was diverted from regulating the traffic” on the railway, the statement added. “Because of this distraction, the accused made some false assumptions about where the trains might cross, gave the wrong signals to the trains and entered a false combination for an emergency call to the trains, so that the drivers never heard those signals.”
State prosecutor Wolfgang Giese issued a warrant for the dispatcher’s arrest on Tuesday. He is set to be charged with involuntary manslaughter and violating work rules.
While the dispatcher has admitted to playing a game on his phone, he insists his attention was not diverted, according to the Times.
However, the train conductors would have been relying on his instruction considering they were on a single-track stretch of railway in a wooded area next to a canal which would have impeded their ability to see each other before crashing.
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If the dispatcher had actually been paying attention as he claims, he would have foreseen the potential danger and given the appropriate signals to the conductors to avoid the collision.
The collision was 100 percent avoidable had the dispatcher been taking his job seriously instead of prioritizing a silly game.