Union: Chicago Train Operator 'Extremely Tired' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Union: Chicago Train Operator 'Extremely Tired'

Posted: Updated:
PHOTO: NBC News Chicago PHOTO: NBC News Chicago
PHOTO: NBC News Chicago PHOTO: NBC News Chicago
NBC News Chicago NBC News Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) - The president of a Chicago transit union said Monday there are indications that the operator dozed off before the train jumped the tracks and scaled an escalator at one of nation's busiest airports, injuring 32 people.

The operator told Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly that she had worked a lot of overtime recently and was "extremely tired" at the time of the derailment, he said at a news conference.

The derailment happened just before 3 a.m. Monday at the end of the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line at O'Hare International Airport. No one suffered life-threatening injuries.

Earlier, National Transportation Safety Board official Tim DePaepe said investigators had not drawn any conclusions about the cause of the accident, but were looking into whether faulty brakes, signals or human error were factors.

The operator, who was still hospitalized, will be interviewed, DePaepe said, and investigators would examine her routine over the last few days.

The timing of the helped avoid an enormous disaster, as the underground Blue Line station is usually packed with travelers coming to and from Chicago.

Denise Adams, a passenger on the train, described the impact to reporters.

"I heard a 'Boom!' and when I got off the train, the train was all the way up the escalator," she said. "It was a lot of panic."

Monday's accident occurred almost six months after an unoccupied Blue Line train rumbled down a track for nearly a mile and struck another train head-on at the other end of the line in September. Dozens were hurt in that incident, which prompted the CTA to make several safety changes.

Investigators will review video footage from a camera in the station and one that was mounted on the front of the train, DePaepe said. The train will remain at the scene until the NTSB has finished some of its investigators, after which crews will remove the train and fix the escalator that has "significant damage."

Hours after the crash, the front of the first car could still be seen near the top of the escalator.

While the station is shut down, the CTA was busing passengers to and from O'Hare to the next station on the line.

The train appeared to have been going too fast as it approached the station and didn't stop at a bumping post - a metal shock absorber at the end of the tracks.

"Apparently (it) was traveling at a rate of speed that clearly was higher than a normal train would be," CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. He also said it wasn't clear how many people were on board at the time of the crash, but that it took place during what is "typically among our lowest ridership time," Steele said.

The injured were taken to area hospitals, and Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said Monday morning that most were able to walk away from the wreck unaided.

Chicago's 240-mile subway system, which had fallen into disrepair in recent decades, has recently undergone renovations. A four-year, $429 million overhaul has started on the Blue Line from O'Hare to downtown. The line, which still has stations built in the late 1800s, was extended to O'Hare in the early 1980s.

Transit officials say there are more than 80,000 daily riders along the Blue Line O'Hare branch.

___

AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner contributed to this report from Chicago.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:16 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:16:40 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
  • PHOTOS: Do you know who this burglary suspect is?

    PHOTOS: Do you know who this burglary suspect is?

    Thursday, August 21 2014 2:25 PM EDT2014-08-21 18:25:51 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - Detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office are asking for you help finding a man they believe broke into a home, stole credit and debit cards, and then used those cards to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of items. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - Detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office are asking for you help finding a man they believe broke into a home, stole credit and debit cards, and then used those cards to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of items. >>
  • Wheat farmers taking a double hit as prices drop and weather takes its toll

    Wheat farmers taking a double hit as prices drop and weather takes its toll

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:29 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:29:24 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Experts with the Washington Grain Commission say wheat production is at its lowest since 2008. Glen Squires with the Washington Grain Commission says the current average price per bushel of wheat is around $6.20 down from last year's price at $7.53. Dry conditions in Eastern Washington is also taking its toll on wheat farmers. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Experts with the Washington Grain Commission say wheat production is at its lowest since 2008. Glen Squires with the Washington Grain Commission says the current average price per bushel of wheat is around $6.20 down from last year's price at $7.53. Dry conditions in Eastern Washington is also taking its toll on wheat farmers. >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Eagles Lodge plans to honor Delbert 'Shorty' Belton one year after his murder

    Eagles Lodge plans to honor Delbert 'Shorty' Belton one year after his murder

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:57:22 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - On the night August 22nd, 2013, World War II veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton was found badly beaten inside his car outside the Eagles Lodge in north Spokane. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - On the night August 22nd, 2013, World War II veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton was found badly beaten inside his car outside the Eagles Lodge in north Spokane. He later died from his injuries.Through their investigation, detectives named two teenagers as the prime suspects in the murder: Kenan Adams-Kinard and Demetrius Glenn. INSIDE>>>|Previous Coverage|
    >>
  • Driver takes out power pole near the 'Y'

    Driver takes out power pole near the 'Y'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:31:01 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Charges are pending for a man police say hit multiple cars and a traffic sign before running his car into a power pole Thursday on the Newport Highway near Holland, just past the "Y." >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Charges are pending for a man police say hit multiple cars and a traffic sign before running his car into a power pole Thursday on the Newport Highway near Holland, just past the "Y." One witness who spoke to KHQ said he was hit by the man and then followed him. He said he was scared the man was going to either hurt or kill someone else.>>