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Metrolink Contractor Speaks For 1st Time Since Crash

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Veolia, the firm hired by Metrolink to supply train engineers has had no comment since the September train crash in Chatsworth that killed 25 people until now. While the investigators have has asked them not to comment on specifics about engineer Robert Sanchez or the crash, they did talk about their cell phone policy.

"I think up to this accident, we had the strongest [cellphone] policy in the business given the ones I'd seen," said Ronald J. Hartman, an executive vice president for rail for Veolia, to the LA Times. Hartman continued to say that the company's police prohibits cellphone use by their engineers and requires them to be turned off and out of reach while operating a train. Supervisors who encounter engineers on a daily basis often check for cell phone usage and even sometimes call cell phones when engineers are driving to see if they are following policy.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators released preliminary information last week regarding Metrolink Engineer Robert Sanchez' cell phone records. Of the many text messages that day, the last one sent at 4:22:01 p.m., 22 seconds before the crash, which is estimated to have occurred at 4:22:23 p.m. However, the NTSB says precise timing of cell phone activity and how it correlates with the crash is still under investigation.

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AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes