Drug impairment caused the engineer of a Conrail freight locomotive to speed through several warning signals and into the path of an Amtrak train Jan. 4, 1987, at Chase, Md., the National Transportation Safety Board has concluded.
After a year-long investigation of the crash that killed 16 people and injured 175, the board released a report Wednesday stating that the engineer, Ricky L. Gates, was impaired by marijuana use. The presence of marijuana was found in blood and urine samples from both Gates and his brakeman, Edward W. Cromwell. Gates faces trial next month on 16 manslaughter counts stemming from the accident. Cromwell was granted immunity from prosecution for his grand jury testimony.