Ron: Four CTA employees have been suspended after a weekend train derailment. The Green Line train jumped the tracks on the cities south side on Saturday.
Kathy: ABC7’s Kevin Roy joining us for a look at what might have caused the problem. Kevin?
Kevin: Kathy and Ron, human error. CTA says the operator of the lead car in Saturday’s derailment blew passed a red stop signal. Her union says she simply wasn’t familiar with the route, she was filling in for someone who was sick and had never worked it before. But, several other workers have been suspended as well.
Kevin: A Green Line train jumped the tracks while taking a curve near 59th Street and Calumet Avenue Saturday around noon with 42 passengers on board. None seriously injured, but all were shaken. By that evening ABC7 news has learned four CTA workers were immediately suspended without pay for the incident. But ask CTA president Richard Rodriguez about it today, and he seems to pin it on only one of them.
Richard: At this point in time the operators have been removed from service until we can complete our investigation.
Kevin: The train’s 2 operators, a tower man, and a 29-year veteran supervisor are all off the job tonight without pay. Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, says the CTA’s longstanding policy of suspending all workers involved in an incident without pay isn’t fair to those who didn’t do anything wrong.
Robert: I was there Saturday. We had four people tell the truth, no doubt in my mind, but those four people are out of service today.
Kevin: Saturday’s derailment happened in the same area where a similar derailment occurred in May of last year. But the CTA says there is nothing wrong with the tracks, signals, or any equipment in the area. Few of us will forget the frightening images from this derailment in July of 2006 on the Blue Line, passengers escaping a smoky subway. Today, a jury awarded $135,000 to Eduardo Martinez who was on that train. His lawyer says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and expects passengers involved in Saturday’s derailment may suffer a similar fate.
Jeff: And that’s the problem with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, some of those issues, it’s seared in their mind and they can’t let go.
Kevin: Jeff Kroll says his client’s case is the first from the 2006 derailment to go to court, but he does expect there will be many more. The CTA says it’s only a matter of routine to suspend all workers involved in an incident without pay while an investigation is going on. And Ron and Kathy, when they determine which workers followed the proper procedures, those workers receive back pay.
Kathy: Okay, Kevin, thanks.