Inspector fired, investigation continues into flipped train

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 3:43 PM
Inspector fired, investigation continues into flipped train

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Police said on Tuesday they have not determined what caused a miniature train to derail and overturn at a park, killing a six-year-old boy and injuring 19 others.

A state safety inspector has been fired after admitting he did not check the train for engine speed last week because the battery was dead, and then falsified his safety report.

And the train's operator told police investigating Saturday's accident at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that he had been driving too fast.

But Spartanburg Police Captain Art Littlejohn dismissed media reports that suggested the accident was the result of sabotage.

"We've got to talk to a lot of people," Littlejohn said. "We are currently reviewing all reports, statements, 911 recordings and an amateur video."

A memorial for Benjamin Easler, the child who died in the accident, will be held on Tuesday night at Cleveland Park. Benjamin was the son of a Gaffney, South Carolina, preacher who was also injured along with his wife and two other sons.

"We don't understand a tragedy like this. We're just going to point folks to the Lord," said the Rev. Hank Williams, who will officiate the service.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)