LIRR Engineer & Friend Charged With Endangering Passengers

I apologize for being M.I.A. lately. I hope that I can get back to regular updates starting today. So let me get started with catching up by blogging about the LIRR engineer charged with endangering passengers by allowing his friend to operate a Queens bound diesel train. Oren Yaniv and Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News had more in this report:

A LIRR engineer and a passenger he let drive his train – at speeds up to 80 mph – were charged Wednesday with endangering passengers’ lives, authorities said.

Veteran engineer Ronald Cabrera allowed William Kutsch, a court reporter, to operate a 500-ton diesel train carrying hundreds of passengers for more than 24 miles between Hicksville, Long Island, and Hunters Point, Queens, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Cabrera, 40, and Kutsch, 47, both of Long Island, surrendered to MTA police and were charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, authorities said.

Cabrera, an engineer for 16 years, also was charged with misdemeanor official misconduct for the July 2 trip.

Click here for the complete report.

In regards to this incident, the MTA’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) released this statement:

The LIRR acted immediately when these extremely serious and troubling allegations first came to light on July 2nd. LIRR managers initiated an investigation and the engineer was removed from service the day the allegation was received. He has not operated a train since that time. Meanwhile, LIRR disciplinary proceedings against the engineer – up to and including possible termination – are in progress. The LIRR is cooperating with the MTA Police, the MTA Inspector General and the Nassau County District Attorney.

Engineers throughout the LIRR have been reminded of their responsibilities to keep cab doors closed to avoid distractions while operating trains. Also, all employees have been reminded that only authorized personnel are permitted in the operating cab of a train. The LIRR is committed to protecting the safety of its customers and the public. The alleged actions of this one employee do not represent the efforts of our engineers and train service employees at large, who are a highly professional, well-trained and dedicated workforce.

When I first heard this story, I immediately thought it was probably true. Incidents like these are not happening on a daily basis but do occur quite a bit. Honestly just about every rider would not know the difference of who is driving the train. However that does not excuse the blatant disrespect of the rules & potential jeopardy that passengers were put in. This is the type of offense that would warrant a complete termination without hesitation.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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