TOWSON, Md. — The Conrail engineer whose locomotive collided with a passenger train, killing 16 people in Amtrak's worst accident, was indicted today on 16 counts of misdemeanor manslaughter by locomotive.
The Baltimore County grand jury alleged that Ricky Gates, 32, of Essex operated the locomotives in a "grossly negligent manner" on Jan. 4.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $1,000 fine on each count.
Investigators said Gates was operating a unit of three Conrail locomotives that failed to slow or stop at signals and went into the path of a 600-passenger Amtrak train. The crash in the suburban Baltimore community of Chase injured 175.
Traces of marijuana were found in blood and urine taken from Gates and the Conrail brakeman, Edward Cromwell, several hours after the accident, but federal officials have questioned the tests.