Train collision probe to examine text messages
Authorities in Los Angeles are now looking at the possibility that text messages sent by teenagers to the driver of the commuter train that crashed into a freight train played a role in the accident. Apparently the teenagers were texting the driver just minutes before the accident.
Federal investigators said Sunday they plan to obtain the cell phone records of two teenagers and the engineer of a commuter train to determine whether text messages played a part in a head-on collision that killed 25 people.
The Metrolink train had failed to stop for a red signal, triggering the Friday collision with a freight train, according to the commuter train's operators. In addition to the 25 fatalities, more than 130 passengers were injured.
On Sunday, Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators have been in touch with two teenagers who told a local television station that they had been exchanging text messages with the Metrolink train engineer before the impact.
The engineer, who has not been identified officially, was a subcontractor employed by another company and died in the crash.
"We have been in contact with them and their families. They have been fully cooperative," Higgins told reporters. "We are going to be obtaining records from their cell phones and of the deceased ... to begin to determine what might have happened and what if any role [cell phones] might have played in this accident."
Metrolink forbids train operators from using cell phones or other electronic devices while on duty, she said.