The despondent man who caused last month's Glendale train derailment was looking for attention from his estranged wife, not to commit suicide, a police detective told the L.A. Daily Journal's Leslie Simmons. Witnesses said Juan Manuel Alvarez poured gasoline on his car just before the Metrolink train approached, then ran away without ever getting in the driver's side. The story has been often repeated that he tried to kill himself, then changed his mind.
"The whole problem from the very first day it happened was that everybody said, 'It must be a suicide,' from high up in the brass ranks," Glendale police Detective Robert Breckenridge said. "And everybody just ran with that and didn't know the facts of the case.
"This was an intentional act, and this was an attention-grabber, and there was no intention to kill himself," Breckenridge added.
Defense attorney Eric Chase insisted the wreck was the result of Alvarez's botched suicide try.
As a result, authorites added an arson charge to the eleven counts of homicide he faces.