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Metrolink engineer was text messaging while on duty

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Federal investigators have confirmed the Metrolink engineer was text messaging from his cell phone last Friday, the day of that disastrous train collision. The National Transportation Safety Board investigators subpoenaed the Metrolink engineer’s cell phone records.

However, NTSB investigators are not saying if Robert Sanchez was texting right before his commuter train ran head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Chatsworth. Sanchez was among the 25 who died. At least 130 others were injured.

In other findings, NTSB spokesperson Kitty Higgins say tests show the freight train engineer applied his brakes, but Sanchez did not.

Investigators have now interviewed the conductor of the Metrolink, Bob Hildebrand, and plan to talk with members of the freight train crew as well.

Yesterday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa shook up the Metrolink board of directors by replacing one voting member and one alternate. Also, the Metrolink board went on record supporting legislation requiring positive train control systems on the most traveled railways by 2012. This is legislation being sponsored by California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in congress right now.

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