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California train smash driver sent text seconds before disaster

Investigators get to work on sequence of events

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The driver of a Los Angeles commuter train that crashed into an oncoming freight locomotive last month, killing 25, was texting seconds before the impact, investigators confirmed today.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been probing claims that Robert Sanchez, 46, missed a red signal because he was distracted by his phone. Today officials said the allegation remained part of their investigation, Reuters reports.

Sanchez was among the dead in the September 12 smash, which also injured 135.

Phone company records showed he sent a text message at 4.22.01pm and received one at 4.21.03pm. The trains collided at 4.22.23pm according to the train's on-board computer. Investigators said they will now work to establish the sequence of events precisely, as the time stamps are derived from different systems.

Following the crash, authorities in California banned rail workers from using mobile phones while on duty. ®

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