Last week saw a really horrific Metrolink train accident in Los Angeles, killing at least 25 people. Metrolink is saying that the engineer ran a red light, which was apparently designed to keep him from plowing headfirst into the train coming the other way on the same track. (Apparently the Northbound commuter train was supposed to yield to the Southbound freight train). But this is a very disturbing development:
On Sunday, Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators have been in touch with two teenagers who told a local television station that they had been exchanging text messages with the Metrolink train engineer before the collision.
The engineer, who has not been identified officially, was a subcontractor employed by another company and died in the crash.
"We have been in contact with them and their families. They have been fully cooperative," Higgins told reporters. "We are going to be obtaining records from their cell phones and of the deceased … to begin to determine what might have happened and what if any role [cell phones] might have played in this accident."
Metrolink forbids train operators from using cell phones or other electronic devices while on duty, she said.
One of the teens, a 15-year-old train enthusiast, told KCBS-TV that he had been talking shop with the engineer and received a text message one minute before the crash.
Texting while driving a car is bad enough. While driving a commuter train? Ludicrous.
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