At least 6 people were killed and dozens injured as a result of the Metrorail train accident in Washington, D.C. yesterday. This train crash is being investigated by the NTSB and local authorities, but initial reports indicate that the metro crashed because of failure in the signal system and operator error. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those injured and killed. Family and friends of those injured or killed can call “311” for information about their loved ones and/or (866)-797-4930. There is also a Red Cross Station set up at 501 Riggs Road, NE with counselors on hand to help family members cope with the grief and stress of this incident. These numbers were set up by D.C. fire and rescue officials and the Department of Health and Human Services.
One of those killed in the crash was the operator of one of the trains-Jeanice McMillan of Springfield, VA. She was relatively inexperienced in that she was 18th from the bottom of the seniority list of 523 train operators. It is our understanding that Metrorail operators must first operate a bus for a year before they can operate a train. They then receive about 12 weeks of training on how to operate a train.
The bottom line is that even if the computerized signal system failed to stop the train, the operator should have intervened and manually stopped the train with the emergency brakes. Also, it appears that the second train was traveling at an excessive rate of speed (the maximum speed at the location of this crash is 58 miles per hour). There is also a possibility that weakness in the train track bed contributed to the cause of this Metrorail train crash. It is reported that Ms. McMillan worked for WMATA since January 2007.
Mayor Fenty stated that this was the deadliest crash in the history of the Metrorail system. The incident occurred when one six car metro train stalled on the tracks between Fort Totten and Takoma Park. Another metro car on the same track struck the stalled car. About 200 emergency personnel and rescue workers responded to the crash and the jaws of life were used to cut the trains apart.
The Washington Post reports that about 4 years ago metro had a similar incident where the signal failed in the tunnel between Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn in June 2005. The operators were able to avoid a crash in that case. The Metro system has a computerized signal system that is supposed to help prevent trains from getting close enough to each other to collide. Legal claims relating to this incident will include causes of action for both negligence and product liability. Negligence claims will involve operator negligence, negligent hiring and negligent training/negligent supervision.
If you or your loved ones need legal representation for this Washington DC Train Crash, call our experienced personal injury attorneys at (888) 213-8140. Our office is located in downtown Silver Spring Maryland and we will fight to protect your rights. Goldberg Finnegan, LLC. Those known to be in the train include Tom Baker from Washington, D.C., Garrett Dorsey from Washington, DC, Martin Griffity, Lanice Beasley. I am sure there are many passengers who are true heroes in that they sacrificed their own health and safety to assist others on the train who were more seriously injured.