Human error focus of investigation into Wilmington train vs. car crash

A commuter rail service worker has been placed on administrative leave after a motorist was struck and killed by a train in Wilmington last week. The gates blocking the crossing were not activated at the time of the crash, according to the MBTA.

Roberta Sausville, 68, was killed Friday when her vehicle was struck by a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter train, authorities said. Sausville was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators are focusing on human as error as the likely reason for the crash.

Less than an hour before the accident, a signal maintainer for Keolis Commuter Services — the company that runs commuter rail service for the MBTA — was performing regularly scheduled testing and preventative maintenance of the crossing’s safety system, T General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement over the weekend.

The safety system was not returned to its normal operating mode, investigators determined during the initial investigation, the statement said. That failure resulted in the crossing gates not coming down “in a timely manner.”

No defects or other problems with the railroad crossing system have been found, Poftak said.

Poftak offered the T's “deepest sympathies to Ms. Sausville’s family and friends."

No one on the train was injured.

A Keolis spokesperson in a statement said the company is committed to working with investigators to “identify and address the circumstances of this heartbreaking accident.”

This article was originally published on January 24, 2022.


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