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Human error focus of investigation into train vs. car crash

January 24, 2022 GMT

WILMINGTON, Mass. (AP) — Investigators are focusing on human as error as the likely reason a train struck a car at a crossing in Massachusetts late last week, killing the 68-year-old driver.

Roberta Sausville was killed Friday when her vehicle was struck in Wilmington by a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter train, authorities said. Sausville was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Less than an hour before the accident, a signal maintainer for Keolis Commuter Services — the company that runs commuter rail service for the MBTA — was performing regularly scheduled testing and preventative maintenance of the crossing’s safety system, T General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement over the weekend.

The safety system was not returned to its normal operating mode, investigators determined during the initial investigation, the statement said. That failure resulted in the crossing gates not coming down “in a timely manner.”

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No defects or other problems with the railroad crossing system have been found, Poftak said.

Poftak offered the T’s “deepest sympathies to Ms. Sausville’s family and friends.”

No one on the train was injured.

A Keolis spokesperson in a statement said the company is committed to working with investigators to “identify and address the circumstances of this heartbreaking accident.”