Less than 24 hours after the tragic L.A. metro crash Friday which killed 25, Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell officially blamed it on the engineer. He had run a red light, she told reporters Saturday. This, even before the black boxes had been checked. The National Transportation Safety Board was quick to counter with an announcement that Tyrrell's declaration was premature.
Adding to the confusion, this morning Tyrrell resigned. She says that Metrolink's CEO gave her authority to make the statements, but that the situation has soured too much for her to stay.
Former Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell.
She told latimes.com, "I felt the damage to my reputation is so great, I could not work for these people anymore. 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."
Meanwhile, the NTSB is investigating claims that the engineer sent a text message at the time of the crash to several "teen train aficionados." Although these reports have yet to be confirmed, they left us wondering: What exactly are "teen train aficionados"? Many news sites (here, here and here) are using this term, without much explanation.
CBS interviewed the teens and found that they considered the engineer to be a friend and educator. Given what they knew about him, they could not believe he would run a red light.
Still, we are left wondering if it's a common practice for young people interested in trains to communicate with engineers? If you know more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making sense of a tragedy of this sort is complicated. Latimes.com has done a nice job with this database of those who have died, including quotes in some cases from their loved ones.