Minnesota train operator in fatal crash cannot be charged

The family of a man killed by a light rail train is calling for changes to Minnesota law that exempts train operators from facing criminal charges.

Posted: Jan 24, 2019 7:17 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The family of a man killed by a light rail train is calling for changes to Minnesota law that exempts train operators from facing criminal charges.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Westlake died as a result of injuries suffered July 15, 2017 when a train ran a red light and collided with his car. His girlfriend, Neli Petkova, suffered serious injuries.

Metro Transit investigators determined the train operator blew through a red light and caused the deadly crash. But, St. Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson said criminal charges for violating the traffic code could not be filed because it excludes rail train operators. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office determined prosecutors could not prove the operator was grossly negligent.

The victim's brother, Peter Westlake, says train operators are "playing with a completely different set of rules."

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