Charges expected in Lac-Megantic train derailment after investigation closes

Fire from a train explosion is seen in Lac-Megantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013 after a 74 car runaway...

Fire from a train explosion is seen in Lac-Megantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013 after a 74 car runaway freight train carrying crude oil derailed in the centre of the city of resulting in forty-two people confirmed dead with 5 more missing and presumed dead. Roughly half of the downtown area buildings were destroyed. The train was owned by Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Corp (MMA). KARL TREMBLAY/ /QMI AGENCY

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:33 PM ET

MONTREAL- Quebec provincial police have concluded their investigation into the deadly Lac-Megantic train derailment that killed 47 people in July.

A police source has told QMI Agency that they are confident prosecutors will lay criminal negligence charges against at least three people, including the train's engineer and the CEO of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) railway

According to police, engineer Tom Harding "knew that some of the mechanical brakes on the individual wagons were malfunctioning. Also, he also knew that the brakes would have been further affected after a small fire was detected on the train earlier in the evening."

The question of how many brakes needed to be applied to secure the 72-tanker train is a factor that investigators have been trying to determine for eight months, but QMI has been told that the effectiveness and functionality of the brakes seems to be the current focus of the investigation.

Ed Burkhardt, the former CEO of MM&A, called Harding out publicly just five days after the tragedy. "There's no doubt that (Harding) didn't apply an adequate number of brakes, even though he had ample time to do so," Burkhardt said July 11.

According to police sources, the criminal investigation has centred on Burkhardt, Harding, and an unnamed MM&A employee.

Prosecutors have been handed the files, and are expected to lay charges in the near future. Legal sources have told QMI that up to a half-dozen people could face various charges in Canada's deadliest railway explosion.

-With files from Julie Marcoux


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