Safety review to lead to new transit policies

March 25, 2000|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

State Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari received recommendations yesterday aimed at avoiding another light rail accident like last month's crash at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Porcari would not disclose the specific recommendations, nor would the Mass Transit Administration. But officials expect new policies to be announced within 30 days.

The recommendations follow a review by the MTA and are designed to strengthen the agency's drug and alcohol policy, operator license procedure and training program.

Samuel Epps, operator of the train in the Feb. 13 accident, tested positive for cocaine after the wreck and was fired. Epps also acknowledged taking oxycodone on the day of the accident. The drug, prescribed for Epps after he had several teeth pulled, is a pain reliever that can cause drowsiness and blurred vision.

Passengers told investigators that Epps, a 25-year transit veteran, had dozed off before the train broke through a barrier at BWI and slammed into a large yellow bumper. Most of the passengers received minor injuries such as cuts and fractures.

The accident remains under investigation. Epps has not been charged.

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