August 16, 2019
South Florida Railroad Signal Inspector Sentenced to Probation for His Role in Train Crash
On August 16, 2019, Alberto Perez, a railroad signal inspector, was sentenced to 12 months of probation, 100 hours of community service, and a public apology on the record in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, Palm Beach County, for tampering with evidence and culpable negligence in a Federal and State joint investigation. Perez had been convicted of tampering with evidence in an attempt to conceal his involvement immediately after a July 6, 2016, collision between a Tri-Rail train and a passenger car in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Perez, a contracted signal inspector for VTMI—a company that specializes in rail maintenance and infrastructure services for commuter and freight railroads—was conducting a relay test on the crossing signals at the intersection at the time of the crash and was alleged to have obstructed the investigation by removing evidence from the scene.
The investigation discovered that Perez removed a central processing unit card that was recording railroad crossing data at the time of the accident and showed details of Perez’s actions that caused the collision to occur. The data showed that the recorder was manually turned off 30 seconds after the collision and then was removed. Perez was the only person present at the scene that had access to the data recorder at the time of the collision. The occupant of the car was ejected from the vehicle on impact with the train, and sustained serious bodily injury.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with West Palm Beach Police Department, Traffic /Homicide Division.