It’s natural that following a crash as devastating as the one last Friday that Metrolink would find itself under intense fire from the media and families of victims. However, in this case the agency seems to have inflicted at least some of the damage on itself. An ill-timed press conference placing the blame on the engineer from a subcontractor created a media feeding frenzy because it appeared that Metrolink was trying to pass the blame for the crash onto someone else.
Not true, says the recently-resigned former Metrolink spokesperson Denise Tyrrell. She tells the Bottleneck Blog:
If I am not mistaken, the engineer blew through a light. The media got
on top of this story apparently so unaccustomed to a public agency
telling the truth they started to spin it that we were trying to throw
all the blame on the engineer. Metrolink is responsible for the
engineer, they are responsible for overseeing the contractor. Talking
about the human error aspect of this is not a way to shift blame from
Metrolink — Metrolink is still the responsible party to oversee the
contract with the engineer and the conductors.
While we call all appreciate this level of candor now, it seems unlikely that "the media" all decided together to mis-represent the story after Metrolink was very clear that they were at fault. Especially in light of the conflicting reports on whether or not Tyrell was authorized to make her Saturday statement to the press.
The news gets worse for Metrolink today. Family of victims have filed the first of what will be several lawsuits against the agency charging that it was their equipment that was the cause of the crash last week. The Federal Railroad Administration has already stated that modern equipment could have prevented the crash, but that equipment isn’t required by the federal government.
Photo: Zach Behrens/LAist