Sunday, May 10, 2009

C u l8r

Another reason to put in automated trolley cars?

Sheesh! Texting while running a trolley? OMG!!

MBTA: Operator texting at time of trolley crash

The operator of a Green Line trolley that slammed into a train stopped at Government Center was apparently text messaging his girlfriend when the crash happened, said MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskus.

“Two detectives have interviewed the operator of the train in the hospital and in the course of that interview he admitted to texting at the time of the crash,” Grabauskus said. The crash happened in a tunnel between Government Center and Park Street stations, sending more than 40 people to area hospitals with cuts, head wounds, and neck and back injuries. None of the injuries was life threatening.

The most seriously injured person was the texting operator of the bullet trolley. He was able to walk out and was taken to a hospital in stable condition. The cars were damaged at the point of impact, but bounced off one another and were still upright when emergency crews went aboard.

Boston Fire Department District Chief Richard DiBenedetto said the crash occured about 7:20 p.m. Because of the number of people on board the trains and a few trapped inside the cars, he called for a second alarm, he said.

Boston EMS Deputy Superintendent John Gill said many of the wounded were able to walk out of the cars, but about 40 people were placed on backboards and carried to the surface by EMTs and firefighters. The injured were laid side by side on City Hall Plaza and triaged by emergency crews while music blared from inside the Big Top Circus - also in the plaza - which was putting on its nightly show.

Grabauskas said if, after an investigation, the operator’s text messages are determined to be the cause he will certainly be fired, and may face criminal charges.

He said it was unclear last night when the stations would reopen.

Last May the operator of a Green Line trolley that crashed in Newton was killed while several passengers were hospitalized with serious injuries. Passengers in that crash reported her using a cell phone prior to the crash, however prosecutors said there was no evidence it contributed to the collision.

The MBTA will be suspending service in between Park Street and Government Center through the weekend.