Saturday, July 27, 2019

Update to the fatal incident at 69th Street from last month

[VIDEO] Here's an update from last month's fatal incident at 69th/State. A CTA Red Line train had fatally struck a commuter who got down to the tracks to retrieve her cell phone.

The video above from CBS Chicago is of the victim's family who spoke out once the news of the CTA motorman or operator being fired from his job as a result of this incident. It aired on the 6:00 PM newscast on Friday.

This report is from the Chicago Tribune which also had video of that said motorman who is seen looking away from the tracks ahead:

The operator was looking away from the tracks ahead of him for about 12 seconds before the June incident at the 69th Street Red Line stop, according to a video recording taken inside the train cab and provided by the CTA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the video, the operator is seen laughing and appears to be pointing at someone or something outside the train side window. He then abruptly stands and exits the cab.

Felon N. Smith, 37, of the 6600 block of South Maplewood Avenue, was pronounced dead shortly after the incident, which happened on the afternoon of June 27.

“The employee’s behavior is unacceptable and in violation of CTA’s policy and procedures,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. The employee was fired last week for “failure to devote attention to duty and ensuring safe train operations,” Steele said.

The CTA did not identify the employee, who had been a rail operator since 2006 and had no previous safety violations. Steele said that operators are supposed to be focused on the track ahead.

Steele said it is impossible to say if the operator could have stopped the train on time if he had been paying attention.

“There are myriad factors that contributed to this incident,” Steele said. “It’s impossible to answer that question.”

Steele noted that trains do not have the ability to make immediate stops because of their momentum. A single 5000-series ″L" car weighs 55,000 pounds or 27.5 tons, so an eight-car train would weigh 220 tons.
There's also this as far as a guard who was on scene when this incident happened:
A video posted on social media early this month shows Smith standing on the northbound side of the platform before she climbs down to pick up an object that authorities later identified as a dropped cellphone. As Smith climbs down, a security officer with a dog emerges from behind another part of the platform, then slowly begins to walk toward Smith in the six seconds it takes her to climb down to the tracks.

Steele said the guard spoke to Smith, who begins to move briskly up the tracks and past the guard as he stands on the platform with the dog. The video shows Smith heading in the direction of the train, moving toward a point where the platform ends, when she was struck.

Steele said the guard, an employee of AGB K-9 Security, Inc., followed protocol in calling out to the woman and promptly notified CTA after the train struck her. Steele said that because of the noise levels at the station, which runs on the median of the Dan Ryan Expressway, the guard and other customers were not immediately aware of the imminent danger of the approaching train.

The guard went on medical leave after the incident. Steele said he has not returned to work on CTA property since the incident.
Well at least according to the article CTA train operators will receive some refresher trainings so that they can keep their eye on the railroad ahead (or the right of way).

And for those of you who drop anything on the tracks, we reiterate that you find a CTA employee to retrieve your item for you. Doing so will keep you safe.

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