AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The former RTD train operator blamed for a derailment that severed a woman’s leg and injured several other passengers will not be charged with a crime.

The R Line train derailed at S. Sable Boulevard and Exposition Avenue in Aurora on Jan. 28.

(credit: CBS)

Authorities say the woman hit the door following the derailment, the door opened and she was ejected from the train.

(credit: CBS)

Jeremiah Hartzel, 33, was facing nine charges including first degree assault. RTD fired Hartzel, saying speed was believed to be a primary factor in the crash.

The diagram below shows the location of the train when Harztel accelerated and applied the brakes.

(credit: Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District)

A traffic camera located at the corner of Exposition Avenue captured an image of the train as it attempted to negotiate a 90-degree curve in the tracks.

(credit: Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District)

Despite finding Hartzel at fault for the derailment, the District Attorney George Brauchler’s office released a statement Friday announcing they would not prosecute him because there aren’t any laws that cover this situation.

“… the evidence tends to establish that Mr. Hartzel’s actions, and inactions, as the operator of this train was the cause of the derailment, and thus of K.M. and the other passengers’ injuries. However, no state criminal statute directly addresses and punishes Hartzel’s conduct,” prosecutors stated. “Therefore, no criminal charges ethically can be filed.”


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