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On Anniversary Of Red Line Crash, Metro Remembers Victims

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Metro officials are marking two years since the Red line train crash outside of Fort Totten Metro station that killed four people.
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Metro officials are marking two years since the Red line train crash outside of Fort Totten Metro station that killed four people.

Update 1 p.m.: It's been two years since the fatal crash on Metro's Red line, and agency commemorated the accident victims with a wreath-laying this morning.

But it was clear that the families of victims are still coping with their losses as they spoke at the ceremony. One mother held up an enlarged photo of her daughter's deceased body.

Others asked officials to install another plaque further down the line, at the New Hampshire Avenue bridge, where the accident actually took place.

Children of one of the victims, Ana Fernandez, spoke to the crowd, one of them haltingly reading a poem before dissolving into sobs.

And families called for the city to dedicate a small park near the Fort Totten station to the victims of the crash.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, most of the D.C. Council members, and Metro General Manager Richard Sarles all addressed the crowd at the memorial. Gray committed to working on the New Hampshire Avenue bridge plaque and the park.

"If we can't do this, we should turn in our badges," Gray said of the park and the bridge plaque.

Original story:Peter Benjamin, the former head of Metro's Board of Directors, said that June 22, 2009 is the day Metro lost its innocence. On that day, a Red Line train slammed into another train that was stopped on the tracks.

A federal investigation later found that faulty track circuits had caused the stopped train to disappear from Metro's central monitoring system.

Benjamin is no longer on the Metro Board. Neither are six of his colleagues who were serving back in 2009. The General Manager from that time, John Catoe, is also gone.

His successor, Richard Sarles, has been credited with bringing a level of stability to the organization, but many problems persist. The agency is constantly fighting poor labor relations, a rising crime rate, and dozens of broken escalators.

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