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MBTA Fires Texting Green Line Operator

This article is more than 10 years old.

By Abigail Beshkin and Meghna Chakrabarti (The Third Rail)

The MBTA has fired a trolley operator who admitted to text messaging his girlfriend moments before a crash in Boston last week.

MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas notified Aiden Quinn on Thursday that he had been fired.

Quinn, 24, had failed multiple times to meet with National Transportation Safety Board investigators. Earlier this week, the MBTA had sent Quinn a certified letter demanding that Quinn meet with investigators on Friday.

Michelle Menken, Quinn's attorney, said Quinn would not meet with investigators as long as statments Quinn makes could be used against him in any criminal investigations. Menken also expressed concern that Quinn would not receive a "fair and detached review by the MBTA."

In a termination letter sent Thrusday, T officials cited Quinn's unwillingness to meet with investigators, and his "poor judgement and inattention to duty" as reasons for the dismissal.

Almost 50 people were hurt when the Green Line trolley Quinn was driving collided with another train last Friday. No one was seriously injured. Government Center station was closed for several days. The crash caused more than $9 million in damage.

The MBTA announced a new ban on employee possession or use of cell phones on Wednesday. Employees caught using a cell phone while operating a T vehicle face an immediate 30-day suspension and recommendation for discharge. The policy is believed to be the most stringent of any major transit authority in the nation.

The MBTA's main labor union had initially supported the ban, if "nuances" had been worked out. The Boston Carmen's Union withdrew that support on Thursday, stating in a letter to T officials that "the rule is unreasonable under the contract" currently in place with MBTA subway and bus drivers.

This program aired on May 14, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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