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T driver who fell asleep on job suspended

Another worker is reprimanded

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Jillian Jorgensen and Martin Finucane
Globe Staff / June 26, 2008

Less than a month after a deadly trolley crash, a driver on the MBTA's Green Line who a rider reported was asleep at the wheel has been suspended, and a customer service employee who failed to properly file a complaint about the incident will be disciplined, officials said yesterday.

That driver will not be seated, meaning he or she will not return to work until passing a "fitness of duty examination," Lydia Rivera, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "The employee is not on the system at the present time," she said.

The incident was first reported by Boston Magazine this week, in an article that reported that several people, including a Boston Magazine employee, saw a trolley driver "repeatedly drifting off to sleep" on the C branch on June 17, less than a month after a driver was killed in a collision between trains on the D branch.

The Boston Magazine article said the staff member filed a complaint with a customer service representative who was dismissive and failed to ask for the train number until she offered it. When the magazine called MBTA Police Chief Paul MacMillan about the incident, "it was the first the agency had heard of the complaint," according to the article.

Attempts to reach MacMillan yesterday evening were unsuccessful.

The customer service representative who took the complaint "will be spoken to, will be disciplined, and will be reminded of the customer service policies of taking inquiries and taking complaints," Rivera said.

Meanwhile, a woman who was injured when she was trapped in the Green Line crash last month in Newton has filed a lawsuit against the MBTA, her lawyers said.

Min Perry, 37, of Wellesley "has undergone surgery, extensive hospitalization, and now faces a long period of rehabilitation," Perry's lawyer, Ronald E. Gluck of Boston, said in a statement. "She will live with the consequences of this crash, physically and emotionally, for years to come."

Perry "suffered fractures of her leg and multiple other injuries," the statement said.

Rivera said the MBTA would not comment on pending litigation.

Perry was sitting behind the driver of a train that rear-ended a second train on the D branch of the line during rush hour on May 28. Ter'rese Edmonds, the driver, was killed. Perry was trapped in the wreckage.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash.

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