The MBTA operator at the center of the investigation into a runaway Red Line train no longer works for the transit agency, officials revealed Wednesday.
Responding to inquiries about the employment status of operator David Vazquez, a spokesman for the T would not say whether he had been fired, responding only that Vazquez "is not an employee of the MBTA."
Following a disciplinary hearing Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that investigators had recommended the 53-year-old driver be fired.
Investigators say Vazquez violated safety procedures before getting off a Red Line train at Braintree Station Thursday morning to put it into “bypass mode” after receiving permission to override a signal problem. The train was then able to depart the station without him.
The driverless train rumbled through several stops before transit workers stopped it by cutting power to the third rail. No passengers were hurt, though Vazquez suffered a minor injury when he was brushed by the train as it moved away from the Braintree Station.
Philip Gordon, Vazquez's attorney, told WBUR earlier Wednesday that the whole incident has hit his client hard.
"He's devastated," Gordon said. "This is a man who is a 21-year veteran of the system. He's affectionately known on the line as Diamond Dave. He has great relations with his passengers and his colleagues at the T. "
Gordon says the investigation will determine why the throttle and braking systems were not operating properly when Vazquez put the train into bypass mode.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.
- AP Source: MBTA GM Expected To Fire Operator Of Driverless Train
- As MBTA Investigates Runaway Red Line Train, 2 Workers Recognized For Stopping It
- Gov. Baker: ‘Multiple Safety Procedures’ Not Followed On Operator-Less Red Line Train
- ‘Operator Error’ Investigated After Red Line Train Traveled Without One