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I-Team: Driver Involved In Green Line Crash Was Fired In 2010

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BOSTON CBS) – In 2010 the MBTA fired Sydley Gardner, the operator of the Green Line trolley which derailed on Monday near Kenmore Station. The crash caused injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

The I-Team has learned MBTA managers did not want Gardner behind the controls. The 48-year-old driver was fired by the MBTA for failure to report an accident.

Sources tell the I-Team it was the fall of 2010 when Gardner was operating a trolley on Commonwealth Avenue in the area of Boston University when the trolley came in contact with a person on the platform. Gardner never reported it so he was fired.

In 2011, the union filed a grievance challenging Gardner’s dismissal, and in 2012 an arbitrator agreed and he was re-instated.

The injured passenger from the 2010 incident was a Boston University student at the time, waiting behind the yellow warning line for a train. Annie Wong tells WBZ-TV she was taking out her wallet for change when some money fell out. Wong says, “My reflex was to bend over and pick it up, and then I blacked out.”

She says was near the front of the train which struck her in the head and recalls the trolley operator Sydley Gardner tried to be helpful. “When I did wake up the conductor was in front of me asking me if I was okay,” Wong says. “He helped me on the train and went a few stops before police arrived and asked me some questions.”

Wong, who says her vision was blurry and was too shocked to speak, doesn’t remember who alerted authorities or EMTs to help her. A police report found Gardner was not at fault for the crash, but sources say he did not file the necessary report.

Ten people were taken to the hospital in Monday’s derailment. The MBTA found no problems with the signals, track or trolley. Speed is now considered a likely cause and the finger of blame is clearly pointed at Gardner who was hired in 2008.

At that time, there was no driving record check for MBTA drivers. His personal driving history includes 20 moving violations, including speeding seven times. The MBTA did not start checking driver records for new hires until 2009.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve and Beth Germano contributed to this report.

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