Sleepiness Might Have Been a Factor in Train Crash at Chicago O’Hare

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Photo: Kenneth Webster/AP

The National Transportation Safety Board says it hasn't drawn any conclusions about what caused the insane train derailment that left a Chicago Transit Authority train on top of an escalator at O'Hare International Airport on Monday, but the train's operator is blaming lack of sleep. She said she had been doing a lot of overtime recently and was "extremely tired" when the accident occurred, according to Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly. The train should stop if the operator's hand slips off the controls, but Kelly suggested that the impact might have thrown the operator against the switch, causing the train to accelerate onto the escalator. While a preliminary report on the Metro-North derailment that killed four people in December only said excessive speed was a factor, motorman William Rockefeller reportedly said that he nodded off just before the crash.