A lawsuit has been filed by the mother of a man killed in a September train crash in Chatsworth, California, against the company that employed the Metrolink engineer. Michael Hammersley was on his way home from his job as a mail clerk at Los Angeles City Hall when the Metrolink train collided head-on with a Union Pacific freight train. National Transportation Safety Board investigators have said that Robert M. Sanchez, the commuter train’s engineer, sent and received dozens of text messages while on duty the day of the crash, including one only 22 seconds before impact.
In addition, Metrolink officials, as well as preliminary safety board findings, indicate the commuter train ran a red light just before colliding with the Union Pacific train. But the color of the light has been disputed by the surviving crewman, conductor Robert Heldenbrand, who apparently told investigators that he saw a green signal just before the train pulled out of the Chatsworth station, its final stop before the crash. The Engineer was among the 25 people killed in the crash which injured 135 others.
In addition to the wrongful death case, four persons who were injured in the crash have also filed suits. The lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and name Veolia Transportation Services Inc., Connex Railroad and the Engineer’s estate as Defendants. Two other lawsuits have been filed against the regional rail authority that operates Metrolink, several contractors and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to reports.
An employee of Metrolink contractor Connex Railroad had allegedly complained about Robert M. Sanchez’s cell phone use on the job before the deadly crash in Chatsworth. Officials with the contractor that provides crewmen to the commuter rail service knew that the engineer involved in the deadly crash had a history of sending text messages while on duty. The allegation came from an employee of Connex Railroad, which provides Metrolink with engineers and conductors.
The employee complained to his superiors about the engineer using his cell phone to send text messages, according to Los Angeles lawyer R. Edward Pfiester. The employee is said to have complained to management a few days before the wreck and complained a second time to a co-worker within three hours of the crash. Several months before the crash, a manager conducting a field test allegedly caught engineer Robert M. Sanchez with a cell phone in his bag. The phone was turned on, which I understand was a violation of Connex policy.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.