Locomotive engineer Tom Harding - Date unknown Pierre-Paul Poulin.
13 May 2014
SWAT Team Arrested Engineer
at Centre of Railway Disaster
Farnham Quebec - A provincial police SWAT team arrested the man at the centre of the Lake Megantic railway disaster, QMI Agency has learned.
Tactical officers were called in to arrest Tom Harding because police had previously found weapons in his home, a source tells QMI.
He's among three railway workers arrested Monday on charges of criminal negligence causing death in the derailment and explosion that killed 47 people in the Quebec border town last July.
A source says Harding was working on his boat in the Eastern Townships on Monday afternoon when officers took him into custody.
It's the second time police have been called to Harding's home in the last few months, says the source.
Last winter, provincial police found an improperly stored weapon in his home and determined that he might have posed a suicide risk.
Harding, train operations manager John Demaitre, and company controller Richard Labrie, are to be arraigned at the Lake Megantic sports complex on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials decided to hold the symbolic arraignment near the scene of the disaster out of respect for victims and survivors.
All three men work for the Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) that operated the 72-car crude-oil train.
The engineer parked the train overnight last 6 Jul 2013 but it started rolling and eventually derailed.
The train exploded and flattened the centre of the town in the deadliest railway explosion in Canadian history.
The three defendants face maximum sentences of life in prison if convicted.
According to police sources, the criminal investigation also centred on the railway's CEO, Ed Burkhardt, who is based in Illinois.
So far Burkhardt has not been charged, but his bankrupt railway is named in the indictment.
The railway also faces $50 million in wrongful-death lawsuits.