Train Operator Asleep Before Derailment at Chicago Airport, She Admits

Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 04:29 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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The operator of a Chicago Transit Authority commuter train admitted that she fell asleep before the train derailed and climbed an escalator, injuring more than 30 people at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport early Monday.

“She did admit that she dozed off prior to entering the station, and she did not awake again until the train hit close to the end of the bumper,” National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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No one was on the escalator at the time of the incident, which occurred shortly before 3 a.m. Monday.

In February, the operator was reprimanded after falling asleep and missing a stop. She also overslept on another occasion and was late for work, according to the newspaper.

The operator was hired in April and had been working as an operator for 60 days, filling in on a day-to-day basis with continually changing shifts, the newspaper reported.

Turpin said the operator has been cooperative and forthcoming in the investigation, according to the Associated Press.

Officials also are investigating a backup emergency braking system that failed to stop the train, according to The Associated Press.

The Chicago Transit Authority faces lawsuits on behalf of injured people alleging negligence.

The station remained closed on Wednesday, and workers cut apart the front of the eight-car train, which was wedged at the top of the escalator.

Monday’s incident caused an estimated $6 million in damages.

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