BOSTON (CBS) — The operator of a runway Red Line train was suspended without pay pending termination Tuesday, a source told WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk.
David Vazquez attended a disciplinary hearing in the morning and he could be officially fired this afternoon if the MBTA’s legal team accepts that decision.READ MORE: Brookline schools closed Monday, Educators Union plans to strike
Vazquez, 53, is accused of wrapping a rubber cord around an accelerator control on the train last Thursday morning. When he stepped off to fix a signal problem the train took off from Braintree station without him. There were 50 passengers on board at the time.
The train barreled through four stations for 9 minutes before workers at the MBTA’s operations center were able to cut electricity to the third rail and stop it just past North Quincy station.READ MORE: Celtics core group makes their statement with series win over Bucks
MBTA worker Lee Saunders told WBZ Tuesday he took the call and started killing power on the tracks, but the train’s momentum kept propelling it forward before he was finally able to stop it. He said he never experienced anything like it in his 15 years on the job.
“We deal with thousands of calls a day and it’s all kinds of different scenarios and situations,” he said, “(but) never, never a train moving on its own with no operator.”
None of the passengers were hurt.
Vazquez’s lawyer, Phillip Gordon, said his client is a worker with a spotless record who is beloved by passengers. Gordon told WBZ there is still a lot of fact-finding to be done before any conclusions can be drawn in the case.MORE NEWS: Grant Williams steps up with career game to lead Celtics to Game 7 win over Bucks
Vazquez didn’t show up to a disciplinary hearing Monday because his doctor told him to avoid it due to a stress-related illness.