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An MBTA spokesman confirmed that the driver of a Red Line train that dragged a passenger to his death in April has been placed on unpaid leave.
The MBTA changed the employee from paid leave to unpaid leave on Monday, the Boston Globe reported. Agency spokesman Joe Pesaturo confirmed to NBC10 Boston on Wednesday night.
The unpaid suspension is the result of “breach of rules” in relation to the April 10 incident in which 39-year-old Robinson Lalin was killed. The move is “pending final disciplinary action,” though Pesaturo declined to share what specific action T would take against the operator.
“The MBTA does not publicly discuss disciplinary action prior to its execution,” Pesaturo said in an email to the Globe.
The MBTA had earlier said that the train operator, who was hired in 2018, would be off duty during the investigation into what went wrong.
The MBTA is not releasing the operator’s name, but says he was hired in 2018. He is on leave as the investigation continues.
Lalin of Dorchester died when his hand got stuck in the doorway of an inbound Red Line train at Broadway station in Boston at about 12:30. According to investigators, as the train left the station, Lalin was dragged to the track area and later dead.
In early May, a preliminary report by the National Transportation Board showed that a passenger door of a Metro car was not functioning properly when Lalin’s hand got stuck.
The NTSB wrote that the doors are equipped with safety features to prevent trains from proceeding when they are closed.
“NTSB investigators examined and tested the involved railcar after the accident, which identified a fault in the local door control system that enabled the train to proceed with the door open,” the report said.
MBTA officials had earlier declined to answer questions about what kind of sensors are installed when the doors are closed, whether there could be a fault in the car or the fault of the operator. Following the NTSB’s report, the MBTA issued a statement acknowledging its release and identifying the problem that led to Lalin’s death as a “short circuit”.
Independent experts associated with the investigation have told NBC10 Boston that it is the train operator’s responsibility to make sure the doors are clean before closing and departing the station.
Pesaturo told the Globe on Wednesday that the car in which Lalin was at the time of the fatal incident and the train’s main car were both out of service.
Federal investigators said a faulty door control system contributed to the death of a man pulled over by an MBTA train.
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