Following the Blue Line CTA crash at Chicago’s O’Hare airport last week, there has been a war words
between the Union chief and the CTA regarding the train operators condition at
the time of the train accident. Both sides are using the media to argue their
version of events. According to the Chicago Tribune, Union head,
Robert Kelly, said the operator had worked
69 hours in the seven days prior to the train crash. She was a fill-in employee,
known as an “extra board,” meaning she called in around 4:30 p.m.
each day to learn her shift, he said.
CTA spokesman Brian
Steele disputed Kelly’s claim about the operator’s hours, saying she had worked
55 hours in the seven days preceding the incident and was off for 18 hours
prior to her shift during which the incident occurred. In the previous week, the
operator’s longest shift was 9.2 hours, Steele said.
The CTA accused the
outspoken union leader of making “untruthful and irresponsible”
claims in an attempt to interfere with the investigation into the crash, which
injured at least 30 people and caused more than $6 million in damage to the
train and station.
“As has become his
common response in issues involving his union, Bob Kelly is again providing
false and misleading information in an effort to distort the truth and divert
attention away from his union,” the CTA said in a statement shortly after
Kelly spoke at a press conference.
Regardless of how many
hours the operator had worked in the days prior to train crash, it is
undisputed that she had dozed off, which would probably be considered negligent
behavior. The CTA is responsible for its’ employees negligent behavior
regardless if she is a member of a Union. Further, there is the issue of
whether the emergency brake was working at the time, which should have
prevented the train for derailing. As I wrote last week, the NTSB already
stated that the emergency brake did not activate at the time of the train
crash. I’m sure more will be learned as the investigation continues.
If you or someone you
love has been injured in a CTA train crash, Chicago bus accident or Chicago caraccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a freelegal consultation at 312-588-3384.