Union: SF train operator blacked out before crash

July 20, 2009 12:48:24 PM PDT
The president of San Francisco's transit workers union says a light-rail operator blacked out just before his train crashed into a parked train, injuring dozens of passengers. Union president Irwin Lum told The Associated Press on Monday that a "medical condition" was to blame for the driver's loss of consciousness.

Federal investigators reported Sunday that the driver, who has not been named, had turned off the train's automatic controls moments before the collision.

Lum said drivers under pressure to keep their trains running on time turn off the controls before entering the West Portal station to speed loading and unloading.

Four passengers were seriously injured in Saturday's crash, including the driver.

The light rail is part of a mass-transit system that carries more than 200 million passengers a year in San Francisco, including on the city's famous cable cars and historic trolleys.

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Associated Press Writers Evelyn Nieves and Tim Reiterman contributed to this report.


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