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  1. #1 Feds Probe Report Metrolink Engineer Was Texting Moments Before Deadly Crash 
    Feds Probe Report Metrolink Engineer Was Texting Moments Before Deadly Crash
    Monday, September 15, 2008


    September 13: Rescue crews continue to work on the wreckage of a Metrolink commuter train.

    LOS ANGELES — Federal investigators said they will seek the cell phone records of two teenagers and a train engineer as they probe whether text messages factored into a fiery commuter train crash that killed 25 people in America's worst rail disaster in 15 years.

    The engineer of the Metrolink train that crashed head-on near Chatsworth, California, was chatting with a teenager moments before the crash, the Orange County Register reported Sunday.

    Nick Williams, a teenage train enthusiast, told KCBS-TV he exchanged three text messages with engineer Robert Sanchez Friday afternoon. Williams, who considered Sanchez a “mentor,” received the last text at 4:22 p.m., one minute before the train wreck, according to the OCRegister.com report. Williams' claims have not been confirmed.

    Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are talking to the two 14-year-old teens and their families, Kitty Higgins, an NTSB board member, said at a news conference Sunday.

    "There's a lot of things. In any accident I've been involved in, it's never one factor. I call it the perfect storm. We work hard not to jump to conclusions," Higgins said.

    She added that the engineer's cell phone was not recovered at the crash site Sunday and declined to say what the teens and their families have told investigators.

    Sanchez, who was killed in the crash, said in his final text he would be meeting up with another passenger train later that day.

    “I just replied back, 'good deal,' and I just said, 'That's cool,' and I never got a response back," Williams reportedly told CBS2.

    Federal investigators also said late Sunday that audio recordings from the train are missing required verbal safety checks between the engineer and the conductor in the seconds before the train collision.

    The recordings, obtained by the National Transportation Safety Board from the Metrolink dispatch center, show the engineer and conductor called out and confirmed light signals along the route, but the tapes are missing that call-and-response for the last two lights the train passed just before the fiery wreck, said Kitty Higgins, an NTSB board member.

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  2. #2  
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    Do the investigators think the engineer swerved into oncoming traffic or something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by biccat View Post
    Do the investigators think the engineer swerved into oncoming traffic or something?

    Classy. But not really surprising.
    At Coretta Scott King's funeral in early 2006, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, leaned over to him and whispered, "The torch is being passed to you." "A chill went up my spine," Obama told an aide. (Newsweek)
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    Quote Originally Posted by LogansPapa View Post
    Classy. But not really surprising.
    In case you didn't know, trains run on these things called "tracks." That means that the engineer doesn't get to decide where the train goes. Also, trains are usually carrying tons of steel behind them on a low friction track, they require a long time to stop.

    Therefore, I fail to see what effect text messaging would have on this situation, since it is a temporary distraction.

    I'll bet you're the kind of person who says "I don't get it" after someone tells you a joke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by biccat View Post
    Therefore, I fail to see what effect text messaging would have on this situation, since it is a temporary distraction.

    I'll bet you're the kind of person who says "I don't get it" after someone tells you a joke.
    In as much as he blew one or more warning lights - because of his inattention - I think you’re the joke.
    At Coretta Scott King's funeral in early 2006, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, leaned over to him and whispered, "The torch is being passed to you." "A chill went up my spine," Obama told an aide. (Newsweek)
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    Quote Originally Posted by biccat View Post
    Do the investigators think the engineer swerved into oncoming traffic or something?

    No, they think he did not see the signal that was telling him to stop because another train was on the track.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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    Quote Originally Posted by biccat View Post
    In case you didn't know, trains run on these things called "tracks." That means that the engineer doesn't get to decide where the train goes. Also, trains are usually carrying tons of steel behind them on a low friction track, they require a long time to stop.

    Therefore, I fail to see what effect text messaging would have on this situation, since it is a temporary distraction.

    The engineer apparently didn't see the red signal because of the texting. Once he looked up, he was probably past the signal and didn't know to start the train to stop. This isn't a road where stop lights are only at intersections. Trains need the signal to be back a ways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda22003 View Post
    No, they think he did not see the signal that was telling him to stop because another train was on the track.
    Thanks Linda. I hadn't heard that, it makes sense.

    I don't even know why I bother with Obama supporters anymore.
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