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>>

  • 23-year-old man arrested for burglary, shooting in north Spokane County

    23-year-old man arrested for burglary, shooting in north Spokane County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:34:54 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after police say he burglarized a home in north Spokane County and fired a shot at the homeowner when confronted.>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after police say he burglarized a home in north Spokane County and fired a shot at the homeowner when confronted. Deputy Mark Gregory with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office told KHQ the homeowners returned to their house at around 6:00pm Wednesday and noticed their home had been burglarized.>>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • WILDFIRE ALERT: Neighbors tackle brush fire with shovels; can't get it out

    WILDFIRE ALERT: Neighbors tackle brush fire with shovels; can't get it out

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:02 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:02:00 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Wednesday afternoon a brush fire broke out south of Spokane off Highway 195, near W Smythe and N Maple road. The fire is burning in a residential area and neighbors we talked to say they are very worried about their homes. It's not clear how the fire started, but when nearby homeowners saw smoke they ran out with shovels to try and stamp it out.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Wednesday afternoon a brush fire broke out south of Spokane off Highway 195, near W Smythe and N Maple road. The fire is burning in a residential area and neighbors we talked to say they are very worried about their homes. It's not clear how the fire started, but when nearby homeowners saw smoke they ran out with shovels to try and stamp it out.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • 23-year-old man arrested for burglary, shooting in north Spokane County

    23-year-old man arrested for burglary, shooting in north Spokane County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:34:54 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after police say he burglarized a home in north Spokane County and fired a shot at the homeowner when confronted.>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after police say he burglarized a home in north Spokane County and fired a shot at the homeowner when confronted. Deputy Mark Gregory with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office told KHQ the homeowners returned to their house at around 6:00pm Wednesday and noticed their home had been burglarized.>>
  • Throwback Thursday: Skateboarding

    Throwback Thursday: Skateboarding

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:13:02 GMT
    KHQ.com - The battle against skateboarders was in full force in 1990 where we found this clip featuring "the path of destruction" caused by young skateboarders in downtown Spokane. Without a skatepark, where were the kids to go? One of the first official skateparks in downtown was built until 7 years later.>>
    KHQ.com - The battle against skateboarders was in full force in 1990 where we found this clip featuring "the path of destruction" caused by young skateboarders in downtown Spokane. Without a skatepark, where were the kids to go? One of the first official skateparks in downtown was built until 7 years later.
    >>
  • KEEPING VIGIL: Double J Dog Ranch

    KEEPING VIGIL: Double J Dog Ranch

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:55:03 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of us will never know what it is like to live with a disability.For the past 5 years Duane and Cristene Justus have opened their home and hearts to many special needs dogs. Currently they have 17. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of us will never know what it is like to live with a disability.For the past 5 years Duane and Cristene Justus have opened their home and hearts to many special needs dogs. Currently they have 17. KHQ's Stephanie Vigil was lucky enough to spend an afternoon at Double J Dog Ranch. Cristene and Duane Justus can't imagine euthanizing the dogs, who don't get adopted out as much as normal dogs do. "My heart is so big for them because they don’t know any different.>>