Journalists hate when this happens: Federal investigators say Friday's fatal collision of a Ventura County Metrolink commuter train with a freight train may not have been caused by an engineer busy with text messages, as was reported over the weekend. The spokesperson who blamed the engineer and called it "unbelievable" that he'd been texting on the job has resigned. The National Transportation Safety Board says they've found evidence of missed safety checks, but it'll be months before they determine the cause. Here's the Contra Costa Times's wrapup of recent reports:
Federal investigators said Sunday they will seek the cell phone records of Sanchez and two 14-year-old train enthusiasts as they probe whether text messages factored into the crash. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are talking to the two teens and their families, Kitty Higgins, an NTSB board member, said at a news conference. The teens told KCBS-TV they received a text message from the engineer at 4:22 p.m. Friday, moments before the crash. The NTSB also reported late Sunday that audio recordings on the train are missing required verbal safety checks between the Sanchez and the conductor in the seconds before the crash. Higgins said the recordings show the two called out and confirmed light signals along the route, but the tapes are missing calls for the last two lights the train passed. Higgins said, however, that her agency could not rule out any possible causes of the collision yet. She said usually an investigation of a train crash takes a year. "There's a lot of things. In any accident I've been involved in, it's never one factor."
(Photo by AP/Reed Saxon)