Mechanical failure ruled out as cause of Muni crash

June 23, 2008 3:45:13 PM PDT
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials today appear to have ruled out mechanical failure as a possible cause of a June 14 two-train crash that injured several passengers, but whether any Muni employees will be disciplined remains unknown.

Muni officials issued a brief update today on the agency's investigation into the incident, in which a one-car T-Third train rear-ended a two-car N-Judah train stopped at a traffic signal at Fourth and King streets just south of AT&T Park.

"Though our investigation is continuing, we have taken a careful look at the tracks, the signals and the vehicles, and we have so far found no mechanical issues that might have caused the collision," said SFMTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford.

Last week, SFMTA officials indicated the T-Third train had likely been speeding, traveling at 17 mph in a 3-mph Muni train zone. The agency was also looking into whether the T-Third operator may have been on a cell phone at the time of the crash.

Authorities reported at the time that 10 passengers and both Muni drivers had been hospitalized with injuries ranging from minor to potentially life-threatening.

Both train operators have been placed on standard administrative leave during the investigation, but SFMTA spokesman Judson True said today that state and federal laws prevent the agency from discussing any possible disciplinary measures against its employees.

"We will take all appropriate steps based on the results of the investigation," Ford said in the statement.

Repairs to the trains have been estimated at between $1.2 and $1.5 million.


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