Engineer Texted on Duty, but Link to Train Crash Unclear

Calif. investigators not yet sure if he was using phone at time of fatal crash
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Sep 18, 2008 1:58 PM CDT
A police honor guard carries the casket into funeral services today for Los Angeles police officer Spree Desha, who was killed in the Metrolink train collision.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The engineer involved in Friday’s catastrophic train collision near Los Angeles was texting on the job, the Times reports, but investigators do not yet know whether Robert Sanchez was using his phone when his engine slammed into an oncoming freight train. Federal transit officials are continuing to analyze phone records in the crash that killed 25 people and injured 135 others.

With funerals of the victims beginning today, state officials suspect that “inappropriate phone usage” caused this crash and another between two San Francisco commuter trains in June. They’re now under fire for not implementing safety measures sooner, but say they’ll take immediate and long-term actions to fix the problem, no matter what it costs.