Maintenance error suspected in fatal MBTA crossing-gate accident

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| January 24, 2022

 

Gate failed to lower before commuter train hit car, killing driver

WILMINGTON, Mass. — An error by a signal contractor apparently led to a fatal accident in which a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train struck a vehicle, killing its driver, on Friday.

The Boston Globe reports that MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement that “human error” is the focus of the investigation by the transit agency, state police, and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office into the Friday evening collision that killed 68-year-old Roberta Sausville. Her vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by an inbound MBTA commuter train at the Middlesex Avenue grade crossing near the North Wilmington MBTA station.

Poftak’s statement said a worker for Keolis Commuter Services, the contract operator of MBTA commuter trains, was performing testing and maintenance at the crossing before the accident, and is believed to have failed to return the crossing-gate system to normal operating mode. As a result, the crossing gate did not lower prior the accident.