Sherbrooke Quebec - Former Montreal Maine & Atlantic (MMA) locomotive engineer Francois Daigle told the court he knew there was a mechanical problem with the locomotive at the front of the train that derailed in Lake Megantic when it left the station on 5 Jul 2013, but he didn't tell the person who operated it.
Daigle stood in the witness box at the Sherbrooke courthouse for a fourth day on Tuesday, at times visibly shaken, repeatedly telling the defence he didn't remember many of the elements pertaining to the days leading up to the disaster.
Daigle said he reported a problem with the 5017, the lead locomotive of the train that later derailed, hours before it left for Lake Megantic.
But when his supervisor did nothing, he didn't tell anyone else about the problem.
Under cross-examination by Demaitre's lawyer, Gaetan Bourassa, Daigle told Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas and the 14 member jury that before Harding left for Lake Megantic with the convoy of crude oil tankers, Daigle saw him but didn't mention the mechanical problems on the head locomotive.
"I remember I came across Harding in the cafeteria," he said.
"He told you he was doing the fuel train?" asked Bourassa.
"Yes," said Daigle.
"I didn't mention the 5017 locomotive to Tom."
"Did you think to yourself, if I had said something to Harding?" asked Bourassa.
"Yes. I feel guilty," Daigle said.
"I've often wondered if I could've done something."
Problems with All MMA Locomotives
Daigle told the court there were problems with all the MMA locomotives regularly, but nothing was ever done about it.
He said he sat on the company's health and safety committee, made up of employees from Quebec and supervisors from the U.S., but he acknowledged he never brought up the issues with locomotives.
The employee who inspected the locomotive the morning before the derailment succeeded Daigle in the witness box.
Yves Gendreau 42, is a former rolling stock inspector at MMA, and the 13th Crown witness to testify at the trial.
Gendreau testified he inspected locomotive 5017 on 5 Jul 2013.
"What did you notice about the locomotive that morning during the inspection?" asked prosecutor Marie-Eve Phaneuf."
"There was nothing specific to repair on these locomotives, everything seemed okay," he said.
Gendreau is expected to continue his testimony Wednesday.