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NTSB Hearing Leaves Metro Victim's Families With Questions

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By David Schultz

Kenneth Hawkins has been sitting all day in the boardroom here, listening to officials talk about the causes of the crash that killed his brother: faulty track circuit, broken modules, parasitic oscillation.

But there’s only one question Hawkins wants the NTSB to answer.

"Who’s going to hold WMATA accountable?" he asks. "As the President said, he put his foot on the neck of BP. Who’s putting their foot on the neck of WMATA?"

Hawkins says he doesn’t believe that Metro, or WMATA, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, is safe, even 13 months after the crash.

He and several other people who lost loved ones are suing WMATA in civil court for wrongful death.

"My brother and eight other individuals are gone," he says. "These lives are gone. What you need to look at is there are 226,000 other individuals riding Metro every day. What is out there to ensure their safety?"

The NTSB has been highly critical of Metro thus far, eviscerating the organization’s safety failures at every level, from track workers to senior leadership.

Metro’s senior leadership is in attendance at the hearing today. During the testimony, officials sat with pained looks on their faces, shifting in their seats.

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