TORONTO -- Three employees and the railway company involved in last summer's massive explosion of a runaway oil train that incinerated much of a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people, will face criminal negligence charges, provincial prosecutors announced late Monday.
The charges come about 10 months after more than 60 of the tankers carrying oil from North Dakota came loose in the middle of the night, sped downhill for nearly seven miles and derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic in eastern Quebec. At least five of the tankers exploded, leveling about 30 buildings, including a popular bar that was filled with revelers last July 6.
The Quebec provincial prosecutor's office said 47 counts of criminal negligence have been filed against engineer Thomas Harding, manager of train operations Jean Demaitre, and Richard Labrie, who was in charge of rail circulation, as well as the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd., the defunct railway at the heart of the disaster.
The charges represent one count for each person killed in the disaster. They are the first criminal charges brought. Criminal negligence that causes death can result in a jail sentence of up to life imprisonment in Canada.
Primary candidate dies: The entrepreneur who was locked in a too-close-to-call Democratic primary with former "American Idol" singer Clay Aiken died Monday, his family said. Keith Crisco, 71, died "after an accidental fall" at his home in Asheboro, N.C., about 65 miles west of Raleigh, according to a statement from his family. Aiken was leading Crisco by fewer than 400 votes after the contest last Tuesday. If enough new votes turn up to make Crisco the winner, local Democrats will select a new nominee, state elections board spokesman Josh Lawson said. If not, Aiken will be the nominee, he said. The vote is expected to be certified Thursday.