A former Port of Los Angeles train engineer was sentenced to three years in federal prison for intentionally derailing a locomotive near the US Navy’s Mercy hospital ship in 2020, prosecutors said.
Eduardo Moreno, 46, pleaded guilty in December to carrying out a terrorist attack and other acts of violence against rail carriers and public transit systems in connection with the incident, which occurred while the Mercy was moored in Los Angeles to relieve health systems strained by soaring COVID-19 cases. in the first weeks of the pandemic.
In addition to his prison sentence, Moreno was ordered to pay more than $755,000 in restitution for damages caused by the derailment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
On March 31, 2020, Moreno ran the train off the tracks at high speed, crashing through barriers before it came to a stop 250 yards from the Mercy. The vessel was undamaged and no injuries were reported, although the incident caused a diesel fuel leak of approximately 2,000 gallons.
A California Highway Patrol officer saw the accident and arrested Moreno at the scene.
The Mercy had docked in the Port of Los Angeles a week before the crash. With 1,000 beds, the ship was supposed to take patients who did not have COVID-19 to ease the burden on Los Angeles County hospitals that had rapidly reached capacity.
Moreno told Port of Los Angeles police he caused the derailment because he was suspicious of the Mercy and believed it was moored for a ‘government takeover’, not aid to the pandemic, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Moreno said he acted alone and the act was not premeditated. At the time of the accident, he was an employee of Pacific Harbor Line, which operates in the port complex of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“While admitting to intentionally derailing and crashing the train, he said he knew it would attract media attention and that ‘people could see for themselves,’ referring to the Mercy,” the office said. of the US Attorney.
Seven weeks after arriving in Los Angeles, the Mercy departed to return to its home port of San Diego, having treated only 77 patients.
Los Angeles Times