Engineer, Track Workers Killed in Philly Amtrak Accident Had Drugs In System
We haven’t heard much in recent months about the train derailment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which injured 40 passengers and 2 crew member and killed the two track workers, whose train car was obliterated during the accident.
According to the Wall Street Journal,
There is no indication that drug use contributed to the accident, or any sign that any of the men was impaired on the morning of April 3, when a southbound Amtrak train barreled down a track that was supposed to be closed due to maintenance work.
Still, the positive test results, released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, came amid data showing rising instances of drug use in the relatively safe railroad industry. The increase has alarmed regulators and railroad executives, and helped trigger an expansion of drug prohibitions and testing that began just weeks after the accident.
In a letter to employees Thursday, Amtrak Chief Executive Charles “Wick” Moorman said that the NTSB findings “do not reflect that drug use was the cause of this incident.” But he added: “Any positive drug test result is completely unacceptable.”
A summary of toxicology tests published by the NTSB on Thursday shows that Joseph Carter Jr., the backhoe operator, tested positive for cocaine, while Peter Adamovich, a supervisor who was standing next to the backhoe when it was struck, tested positive for oxycodone, codeine and morphine. The train engineer, Alexander Hunter, had trace amounts of marijuana in his bloodstream.
The new information released on Thursday seems to suggest that a lack of communication may have been a major contributing factor in the cause of the accident, which the NTSB has still not designated. Regardless, it is a strategy and even sadder that members of the crew had drugs in their system, even if it had nothing to do with the cause of the accident.