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Man accused of derailing train near Navy hospital ship due to fears over coronavirus

Man accused of derailing train near Navy hospital ship due to fears over coronavirus
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A locomotive engineer who worked at the Port of Los Angeles is accused of intentionally derailing a train at full speed near the Navy hospital ship Mercy, prosecutors reportedly said in a federal criminal complaint. 

Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, Calif., was charged with one count of a train-wrecking statute, NBC News reported, citing a 10-page criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The charge reportedly carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years. 

The Tuesday incident was reportedly caught on video and shows the train crashing through a series of barriers before stopping more than 250 yards from the ship. 

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The train leaked fuel oil but no one was hurt, NBC reported. 

A California Highway Patrol officer witnessed the crash and took Moreno into custody, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing the affidavit. 

Moreno reportedly told authorities, “You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”

Prosecutors allege that Moreno, who waived his right to speak with an attorney before being interviewed by investigators, admitted that he intentionally derailed the train, according to the affidavit. 

In a first interview with Los Angeles port police, Moreno reportedly alleged that he “did it” and said he was suspicious of the Mercy — which arrived on Friday to treat non-coronavirus patients in an effort to free up beds at local hospitals while they focus on the surge of patients suffering from COVID-19 — and said the ship was part of a government takeover, NBC reports, citing the affidavit. 

In a second interview with FBI agents, Moreno reportedly said he “did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’” according to NBC.