Metro: Fired train operator in red signal near-collision was 'concerned about getting a break'

- Metro revealed new details about a red light signal violation earlier this month that resulted in the firing of a train operator involved in the incident.

It happened on July 5 at the Glenmont Metro station when the train operator of a Red Line train went through a red signal almost causing a collision with an oncoming train.

Metro said on Thursday that the operator left the station on a red light with no authorization and he nearly struck two employees on the track as they screamed at him telling him to stop.

Metro said communication was an issue because the driver did not have his radio turned up at the time.

The near-collision with another train carrying passengers occurred as both trains stopped just 2,000 feet away each other.

Metro's management said moments before it all happened, the operator was upset about getting to take his break on time.

“It got to the point where it turned into this childish debate where they kind of said, ‘Just get out of the block house and go wait on the train until you get a lineup,’” said Metro Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin. “So, if anything, this employee – it wasn't this rush, rush mentality put on him by management. If anything, this employee wanted to get out of that terminal because he was concerned about getting a break.”

Metro also disciplined five other employees involved in this incident.

This is certainly not the only red light violation that Metro has been dealing with. In fact, they said so far this year, they have investigated ten of these types of violations and one of their highest priorities is making sure this doesn’t happen again.

Metro also addressed its proposal to end late night weekend service permanently -- closing at midnight every night and earlier on Sundays at 10 p.m. Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said crews need more time to maintain tracks and he thinks cutting off service will help.

However, this proposal is upsetting a lot of riders. Metro will ask the public for input on that before a decision is made.

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