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Truck driver who caused train derailment in northern Minnesota is charged in incident

The propane truck driver who authorities say caused the train crash and derailment in Callaway two months ago is being charged in the incident. According to the complaint filed in Becker County District Court, Biya Abdella Buta, 31, of Mandan, N....

Train-tanker truck accident in Callaway

The propane truck driver who authorities say caused the train crash and derailment in Callaway two months ago is being charged in the incident.

According to the complaint filed in Becker County District Court, Biya Abdella Buta, 31, of Mandan, N.D., is being summoned to appear on three charges.

He faces one count of criminal vehicular operation leading to bodily harm for “operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner, causing bodily harm to another.” If convicted of the gross misdemeanor, he faces up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.

The second charge is a misdemeanor for reckless driving for “driving a motor vehicle while aware of and consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the driving may result in harm to another’s property”. This holds a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Buta is also been charged with one misdemeanor count of failure to stop at a railroad crossing. If convicted on this, he also faces 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

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The March 24 accident ultimately led to a city-wide evacuation before the 9,500-gallon propane tanker exploded later that evening.

According to the complaint, Buta, the conductor and the engineer of the train were all interviewed. Both the conductor and the engineer stated they saw the semi-tractor and trailer approaching the crossing. The engineer indicated that he was blowing the train whistle at the time.

When the semi-tractor did not stop, the engineer put the train into emergency mode and applied full brakes on every car in the train.

Due to the impact with the trailer, the engineer received a laceration to his head as he was tossed about within the locomotive.

Law enforcement officials were able to view video taken by the locomotive, which they say showed the semi-tractor trailer driven by Buta did not stop at the stop sign before entering the railroad crossing.

His first court appearance is set for June 13.

Related Topics: CRIME
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