BOSTON (WHDH) - In one of her final acts before becoming US Attorney for Massachusetts, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins on Thursday announced the launch of a criminal investigation into the MBTA following last summer’s Green Line train crash that left 27 people hospitalized.
“As I leave the position of District Attorney, it is vital the public be kept informed of the ongoing work of this exceptional office to keep the communities we serve safe. There is perhaps no single state agency that impacts the daily lives of the millions of people who live and work in the greater Boston area more than the T,” Rollins said in a statement. “Therefore, it is imperative that if we see a continued lack of oversight or negligence at the MBTA that it is exposed and corrected.’’
The operator of the train in question, Owen Turner, accelerated to a speed of 31 mph before crashing with the train ahead of it that was moving about 10 mph on the B Line near the Agganis Arena on the evening of July 30, the National Transportation Safety Board said in an investigative report.
Twenty-four passengers and three crew members were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Investigators say Turner shifted the train’s master controller into the “full-power position” moments before the collision.
Turner has since been charged with negligence of a person having care of public conveyance and gross negligence in management of a train.
“Mr. Owen was operating at three times the speed limit at the time of the crash. As his colleagues and supervisors were aware, he had a reputation for speeding and a history of violations. The MBTA had a duty to address its employee’s reckless behavior,” Rollins added. “The agency failed to fulfill its legal obligation to take meaningful action in light of the real safety risk these acts created. We will be looking into whether the T’s behavior, or lack thereof, merits criminal action.”
A safety system to help prevent train collisions has been installed on the MBTA’s Blue, Orange, and Red lines, along with the Commuter Rail, but not the Green Line. That system will start being installed next year and is expected to be online in 2024.
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