Engineer sent text 22 seconds before fatal train crash
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A Metrolink engineer driving a commuter train sent a text message about 22 seconds before the train collided with a Union Pacific freight train last month, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.
Investigators photograph the interior of a Metrolink commuter train in Chatsworth, California.
The crash killed 25 people, including the engineer, Robert Sanchez, during Friday rush hour in Chatsworth, a northwest Los Angeles suburb.
The 46-year-old engineer sent a text message at 4:22:01 p.m. on September 12, the NTSB said, citing information on his cell phone activity that the safety board subpoenaed from his service provider.
The preliminary estimate of the time for the head-on collision is 4:22:23 p.m., NTSB said, citing Union Pacific train's onboard recorders.
Sanchez last received a text message at 4:21:03 p.m., NTSB said.
After the incident, California Public Utilities Commission banned train operators from texting on the job.
While personally I wonder how the rest of the victims are doing, I'm especially concerned about the silence from Union Pacific not only on the names of their crew members but their conditions. Having worked with Union Pacific myself, this is highly unusual for them to be so silent about their investigation or in releasing names and conditions of the crew.
Sending a text message 22 seconds before the crash meant he had to have been writing the text message when he passed the signal posts and didn't see the red signal.