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Metrolink Spokesperson Quits, Agency Under Fire

2:23 PM PDT on September 15, 2008

9_15_08_train_2.jpg

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 goton top of this story apparently so unaccustomed to a public agencytelling the truth they started to spin it that we were trying to throwall the blame on the engineer. Metrolink is responsible for theengineer, they are responsible for overseeing the contractor. Talkingabout the human error aspect of this is not a way to shift blame fromMetrolink -- Metrolink is still the responsible party to oversee thecontract 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

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