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June 24th, 2009
08:44 AM ET

D.C. Metro Crash: Day 3

The investigation into Monday's subway crash continues. More distubing details are coming out...Were the brakes past due for inspection? Did the emergency brake fail when the operator tried to use it? Was the train completely in automatic mode at the time of the crash - and if so, why didn't the computer system stop it? Finally, and maybe most disturbingly, the NTSB urged the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to modernize its subway cars in 2006 - a move that would have improved the cars' crash worthiness. Why wasn't that done?
At 9:15 Heidi will press NTSB Spokeswoman Debbie Hersman for answers to all of these questions. Make sure you watch.
And click on the comments button below to share your thoughts on Monday's crash.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Lamont Taylor

    I ride the Metro quite often when visiting Washington DC. This is scary!

    June 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  2. Jon

    As there are so many "maybe's", and so few certainties as to the specific condition of the trains brakes, inspections etc.. perhaps it is more responsible to simply allow the NTSB complete their investigation before we consider every possible possibility on-air.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  3. Keith

    Heidi, this is tragic. We can spend millions of dollars on welfare programs and satisfying those who believe they are "entitled," but we cannot get the government to embrace recommendations designed to save lives. Too many times we hear that it's too expensive, but honestly, what price can we put on a human life?

    June 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  4. Ron Redmon


    You've asked an important question about the D.C. Metro System and the NTSB's findings of a couple of years ago. As a former D.C. area resident and long-time Metro rider, I can tell you that the system has been a huge success... and also always strapped for cash.

    For me, this tragedy reminds us, as a nation, that decisions have consequences, and every time we buy a new weapons system, invade another country, or give tax breaks to the wealthiest and our corporations, something involving the quality of life for our people is on the chopping block - whether upgrades to public transit or immunizations for kids, as Marian Wright Edelman was saying earlier.

    We are in a long overdue period as a nation reassessing what really are our priorities and what we want for ourselves.

    Thanks for the great job.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  5. Kevin Patterson

    There are alot of questions as to what caused this accident. I think the two primary ones are what caused it and how can it be fixed so this won't happen again.

    A number of people lost their lives in this, lets focus on helping their families and helping the injured heal. Trying to afix blame because something wasn't done or could have been done can wait till we know the whole story. Too often in tragedy we rush head long trying to find someone to blame.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  6. Steve G - DC

    More mismanagement by WMATA. Lived in DC last 7 years and see more and more problems. Millions lost to Parking fraud and escalator repair that caused more breakdowns. Not responding to safety concerns as seen here. And what's the solution? They extend the Orange line and move forward on Purple line. Come on people they can't manage what they have, don't give them more to mismanage until they figure what they got out! It's a shame people had to die so terribly to point out the problems.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  7. Willie From St. Pete Fl.

    My Worst fear Heidi, Is I pray that the survivors get help with the medical bills for future doctors visits!

    June 24, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  8. val

    Without authority and financial ability to enact changes concerning safety, the agency is only stirring the pot for liability law suits and pointing fingers after the fact. Accidents will happen and people will die no matter what safety precautions are taken in transportation. Trusting machinery and technology to think for us is the wrong way to go, technology should be used as a second defense, not as the conducter in charge.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  9. Jake

    The Metro crash is a terrible tragedy, and I wish it was prevented, because I believe it was preventable. Our Metro system in DC is chronically ill. It has had trouble fiscally for ages, and even with repeated fare hikes, it never seems to be enough. The infrastructure is aging, we have electrified tracks that catch fire every couple of months because of old wiring problems.

    WMATA needs a look at management, but that can be said for our entire public transportation system, from our trains to advertising. I personally think that we need to spend more public money on public transportation, a view strongly opposed by some fiscal conservatives such as Senator Corburn from Oklahoma, who in 2008 was "Happy" to block a bill by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va.which would have provided $3 billion for the DC Metro system, half from the federal government, and half from the users of the Metro system. (

    June 24, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  10. Shelly

    The DC Metro crash is so tragic. We've recently have had 3 separate occassions where we were or family members were in DC riding the Metro. It's scary to think that this could have happened when we were there. I hope that this doesn't become a witch hunt for the female operator. If she's at fault that's one thing, however it's all to easy to put the blame on someone who's not here to offer any explanations.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  11. jophn montague

    Im a retired railroader in Cheyenne.wyo.,not far from Heidis old stompin grounds. I worked for the union pacific for 30 years and have a grt disgust for the NTSB. When they investigate an accident they always walk away blaming human error.Ive seen it happen on 2 different rear enders we had between Cheyenne an Rawlins,Wyo.....both with fatalties. A totsl of 3 people were killed and the engineers were to blame. I personally saw the engineer and waved to him 2 minutesa before the rear ended another train ...his brake in the locomotive with him were killed and another brake in the caboose they hit. NTSB called me...I stated what I saw....but was never in their formal hearings to investigate the crash. Onw NTSB official was over heard saying ...lets get this over an get out of this cow town!!! I am currently surprised that NTSB has come out an said that the emergency application of the trains brakes were applied....this may relieve the trailing engineer of liability!!!Very surprising!!! I was employed on freight trains an not passenger trains, and some were as long as two miles...which made it that much longer to stop. These particular passenger trains are using computers...I eventually replace both conductors an engineers on the lead use satellites an lower labor costs???!!! A rear ender should never happen if traffice signals that are electronically set my steel wheels of a train....are working properly...!! Im sure in the end the NTSB will find a human cause to this relieve all liability of the carrier.....sad...but its been going on for years.
    to Heidi....srry to see u leave channel 9....I noticed they put u in the anchors chair right before u left.....???....their loss...yr doin grt on


    June 24, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  12. Jim

    Anytime the Federal Government gets involved in the private sector it always results in disaster as those folks on the hill have no clue nor the expertise to manage any plan. Those in the in the private sector are far more qualified to manage our health care programs.

    Conclusion, they'll screw the health care system so bad it will definitely HURT!!!!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  13. David

    I'm sorry I missed your intvw w the NTSB spokesperson. What kind of display of traffic is engineer or conductor looking at on train? Aren't train controllers looking at electronic displays of trains on the tracks? Do they have live video of tracks? What were the communications btwn trains? between controllers and trains?

    June 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  14. Dee in sunny (and somewhat wet) Florida

    I am glad to know that you will continue to follow this story. It would be a shame if because the operator does not (at this time) seem to be at fault, that the media would just slink off into the night and forget the REAL story. Especially for the millions who ride the Metro and who until now were basically unaware that their lives might be in danger because some bean counter decided not to make the cars safe!

    June 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  15. deniece smith

    Michael Jackson means sooo much to the Bahamian People we love him and share the pain of his family RIP Nassau, Bahamas

    July 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |

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