MBTA investigates human error – NBC Boston
According to the MBTA, a preliminary investigation found human error was a factor on Friday when a commuter train collided with a car in Wilmington, Mass., killing the 68-year-old woman inside.
MBTA Chief Executive Steve Poftak released a statement late Saturday saying that while the investigation into Roberta Sausville’s death remains very active, they have learned enough to report that human error is the “primary focus” of investigators at the MBTA Transit Police, Massachusetts State Police and Middlesex. Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Poftak said he would like to let “loved ones and the entire Sausville community know that we are making significant progress in establishing the facts and circumstances of this terrible tragedy.”
Sausville’s vehicle was struck just before 6 p.m. by an incoming Haverhill Line commuter train at a level crossing on Middlesex Avenue in Wilmington. The Boston-bound train struck the driver’s side of the Sausville car near the North Wilmington MBTA station, and she was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash.
Shortly after the fatal collision on Friday, NBC10 Boston asked the MBTA Transit Police Superintendent. Richard Sullivan on a possible mistake after several witnesses reported that the crossing arms did not descend as the train passed, only descending afterward. Sullivan replied that part of the investigation would look at whether or not the signal crossing arms were working when the accident happened and whether or not crews had recently worked on them.
It turns out, according to the preliminary investigation, that a mistake was made.
In its Saturday update, Poftak said that less than an hour before the “heartbreaking accident”, a signal official for Keolis – the company that operates the commuter train – was carrying out regular testing and preventive maintenance of the crossing’s safety system.
Preliminary investigation revealed that following testing, the security system did not return to its normal operating mode, Poftak said. This failure resulted in the crossing gates not lowering in a timely manner as the train approached Middlesex Avenue.
A woman was killed Friday when a train collided with her car on the tracks near the North Wilmington commuter rail station in Wilmington, Mass., officials said.
Keolis released its own statement late Saturday, saying the company is committed to working with investigators, the Federal Railroad Administration and MBTA to identify and address the circumstances of this “heartbreaking accident.”
“With respect to the signal manager, we do not comment publicly on internal personnel matters, but we will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation,” Keolis added.
Investigators found no faults or other issues with the various elements that make up the infrastructure of the crossing system, Poftak added.
NBC10 Boston reached out to the Sausville family Saturday night, but they said they weren’t ready to comment at this time.
The MBTA and Keolis have expressed their condolences to Sausville’s loved ones following this tragedy.
“On behalf of the MBTA and our commuter rail operator, Keolis, I want to offer our deepest condolences to Ms. Sausville’s family and friends at this difficult time of shock and sadness,” Poftak said.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Roberta’s family and loved ones at this incredibly difficult time,” Keolis added in its own statement.
Once investigators have completed their work, there will be a final report into the cause of this incident – which Poftak described as having “devastating consequences”. There will also be a summary of the measures that the MBTA and Keolis will take to prevent this situation from happening again.