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Rail Yard Accident Raises Questions About Metro Safety

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First-responders and fellow Metro employees worked to extricate an employee struck and pinned by a train Tuesday.
Scott Graham/Montgomery County Fire and Rescue
First-responders and fellow Metro employees worked to extricate an employee struck and pinned by a train Tuesday.

This week's accident at a Metro rail yard that injured one worker is once again raising questions about worker safety on the transit line, and drawing focus on the dangers of the job.

Little is known about the unidentified mechanic who remains in critical condition, after being struck by a slow-moving rail car in a maintenance facility at Shady Grove. He is described as an seasoned engineer with 25 years of experience under his belt.

Late Thursday, Metro released an update on the situation, saying that the employee, who remains in critical condition, was seen by eyewitnesses stepping into the path of the lead rail car just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

Jackie Jeter, President of Local 689 Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents the injured mechanic, says although it might be difficult to understand how an experienced rail engineer winds up the victim of such an accident, the event highlights the hazards inherent in the rail yard.

"If you trip and fall into the 750 volts you can get hurt. If you trip and fall into a piece of steel you can get hurt. Unfortunately, we work in a business where, if a mistake is made, that mistake can be costly," said Jeter.

No determination has been made regarding who is at fault in the accident, Jeter added.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the organization investigating Wednesday's Metro accident. WMATA is conducting the investigation at this time. WMATA informed the National Transportation Safety Board of the incident, but the NTSB has not as yet determined whether it will conduct its own investigation, according to a Metro spokesperson. 

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