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Chicago Train Operator Fell Asleep, Train Plows onto O’Hare Airport Platform

The Chicago commuter train operator who crashed a train at O’Hare International Airport last week acknowledged that she fell asleep immediately before the incident and had also done so last month when she overshot a station platform. Before the crash last Monday, the train operator had been running trains in Chicago for only two months. The operator woke up only as the eight-car train jumped onto the platform and pushed up onto an escalator leading into the airport.

The crash occurred around 3 a.m., as the operator’s shift was just about over. The woman had an unusual work schedule and federal investigators were trying to determine if that played a role in her apparent fatigue. More than thirty people were injured in the crash. At a final on-site briefing at the airport National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin stated, “She did admit that she dozed off prior to entering the station. She did not awake again until the train hit.” While the briefing was occurring, workers with electric saws and face shields were cutting up the lead train car in an effort to remove the wreckage.

Last Tuesday, Turpin and other officials interviewed the train operator and investigated her training, scheduling, and disciplinary history. The operator told investigators she was not on any medications; the results from drug-and-alcohol tests had not yet been received. The operator informed investigators that in February she fell asleep while driving a train and partially missed a station. After the February incident, the operator was admonished, which was all that was required under local agency disciplinary guidelines. Currently, the operator is on “injured on duty” status and faces discipline up to and including discharge.

Train operator in Chicago crash had fallen asleep March 26, 2014

Investigators were also closely examining a backup emergency braking system located on the track that was set off by the train but ultimately failed to prevent the train from pushing forward onto the platform. The train was also equipped with a special handle designed to apply the brakes if an operator’s hand comes off the controls. The operator was unsure if she had released the handle at the time of the crash. Several injured passengers have retained attorneys and have sued the transit agency for negligence.

Train crashes can be some of the most dangerous and deadly accidents. If you or someone you know has sustained injuries in a train or metrorail crash, the Coral Gables motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona may be able to help you. The Miami trial attorneys have over twenty years of experience helping people injured in motor vehicle accidents recover compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering. Jonathan Friedland and Michael Carmona are dedicated to helping victims of metrorail accidents pick up the pieces after tragedy strikes. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, call (305) 661-2008 for your free consultation today.

The Miami personal injury attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of motor vehicle accident cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls, and construction site injuries. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys today and let our family take care of your family!

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