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Metrolink Crash Probe: Engineer Often Let Teens 'Ride Along'

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A closeup from the rescue effort. Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
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On September 12, 2008, Angelenos and the nation watched in horror as emergency personnel responded to what would soon go down as the worst train crash in recent US history when a Metrolink train collided with a freight train in Chatsworth. As investigators continue to probe the incident and Robert M. Sanchez, the Engineer at the wheel on that deadly day, more information is coming to light about the man's work habits.

"Federal investigators have cellphone text messages indicating that [Sanchez] sometimes allowed teenagers to ride with him in the cabs of locomotives while carrying passengers," reports the LA Times, although "there is no evidence that any teenagers, described by sources as rail enthusiasts, rode the commuter rail with engineer [him] on the day of the accident."

These ride-alongs allegedly took place on multiple occasions, the text messages reveal; to do so is "a serious violation of safety regulations and could create dangerous distractions."