Skip to comments.Metrolink 111 engineer led solitary life marred by tragedy
Posted on 09/17/2008 9:41:56 AM PDT by ZGuy
Those who knew Robert M. Sanchez say the Metrolink engineer led a solitary life in recent years and was intensely private, sharing little about a past that included tragedy and run-ins with the law.
Sanchez died Friday at the helm of a Metrolink train after apparently failing to stop at a signal near Chatsworth and colliding with an oncoming Union Pacific train. The crash, the worst in modern California history, killed 24 others and injured 135.
Investigators on Tuesday said they had ruled out train and track failure in the accident, and are close to ruling out signal failure. They said they are now focusing on Sanchez.
Sanchez was involved in a fatal crash with a pedestrian earlier this month.
In the years before his death, Sanchez led a nomadic life, with addresses in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska and California.
In 2000, he and Daniel Charles Burton, a waiter, bought a home in Crestline.
Burton moved to California from West Haven, Conn., his family said, seeking better weather and the freedom to be gay.
On Feb. 14, 2003, Burton hanged himself in the garage of their home.
"Rob, Happy Valentine's Day," read a note Burton left behind
The coroner's report showed that Burton tested positive for HIV.
Even before the suicide, Sanchez was having problems.
In 2002, he was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting. Sanchez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, paid a fine and served 90 days in jail.
At the time he said a lot of things were going on that caused him to make stupid mistakes.
He also had a federal tax lien filed against him in 1991 for $6,054 and a Riverside County tax lien for $1,205 filed in 2006.
Sanchez took diabetes medication.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
So if this guy was so effed up then how did he pass the background check to be responsible for several hundred lives each day? WAS there a background check? Did he get a pass because he was gay?
Anybody want to guess that these drugs and whatever else he was taking had to do with this?
I'd feel sorry for him but this scum bag took out others as well. That reminds me, don't they do screening of people who work for metrolink and other companies that they don't do this kind of garbage?
It's California right?
Are these engineers regulated?
Does anybody know the location of the “dead man” switch/button on these trains? If he collapsed, could he have fallen on that switch, keeping it engaged and preventing the train from coming to an automatic halt?
Who dosen't want to wear the ribbon????
Can you shed any light on #6?
My thoughts exactly! Everything is regulated by that God forsaken nanny state except essential workers who are lazy or nuts! More reasons why not to trust government!
In this particular case, as lawsuit is justified.
Metrolink was negligent. If I was a passenger, and discovered the engineers personal history, I would walk.
L.A. Times are being typical when trying to portray the engineer as a “victim” of circumstances. The man had a criminal record as well as a colored history. As a result of Metrolink’s neglect, innocent and unsuspecting people died or were seriously injured.
There is a difference between insulin and glucophage.
Nowadays, there is no “deadman control.” Instead there is an “Alerter” If a control, (throttle, brake, etc.) is not moved in a set amount of time, an alarm is sounded that the engineer has to acknowledge. If he doesn’t acknowledge the alert or change a position of a control, a penalty brake application will be made, slowing the train.
Don’t know for sure about the newer engines, but on older engines, it is a pedal that requires measurable force to depress. I believe that some of the european engines use a hand grip with a similar provision.
I doubt that the deadman switch played into this. It’s more likely that he was just not paying attention, and that the curve of the track kept the trains out of each other’s view until it was beyond the point of prevention. Trains take a long time to slow.
I don’t have any knowledge on the subject. Could you provide some information and whether or not his diabetic condition could theoretically have been a factor in the crash? Thanks.
Metrolink was in violation of federal regulations in allowing this man to operate a train. He is disqualified in numerous ways.
Federal regulations control rail and highway commercial traffic.
In all cases where both control, California standards exceed all others.
The conductor reported that the engineer missed the final two calls, thus the question arises as to whether the engineer might have been unconscious.
wow, maybe he used secret mind power to will this trespasser on the tracks too!
>>>Sanchez was involved in a fatal crash with a pedestrian earlier this month.
Huh? If he was unconscious, how did he stop at Chatsworth Station?
>>>The conductor reported that the engineer missed the final two calls, thus the question arises as to whether the engineer might have been unconscious.