Metro Crash Memorial Plaque Presented at Fort Totten Station 3 Years After Metro Rail Crash

5:38 PM, Jun 22, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Tears and warnings on the third anniversary of Metro's deadliest crash as the city unveiled a plaque installed on the bridge over the crash scene.

"This is my baby, my cousin right here," said a relative of victim Veronica Dubose, rubbing the raised letters on the bronze metal attached to a fence over the tracks. "Feel her name."

The plaque is tangible evidence that people still remember her. "The city cares. That's the main thing," says uncle, Calvin Williams.

But it's still just a plaque, not a shoulder to lean on. "There were times I'd come over at 2-3 in the morning just to talk," says cousin Leonard Williams. "And she would open the door no matter what time it was."

Lavonda "Nikki" King's son buzzed her nickname into his hair.
And her step dad seemed unsure if Metro's done enough to keep it from happening again. "I'm pretty sure they're working on it," said Ricky Hines. "Hopefully it will get better."

Metro's installed a new general manager. It's replacing the circuits that let one of the trains disappear into a black hole. And it's buying new, more crashworthy cars.

But the National Transportation Safety Board chair Deborah Hersman says she's concerned about a series of recent problems -- doors flying open, parts of brakes falling off. "These events are very significant. Metro needs to pay attention to them, because these are warning signs."

Metro says it is paying attention, that safety is a never ending process. The NTSB chair herself rides Metro at least once a week.

And at the plaque unveiling, almost everyone seemed to agree that the safety culture at the agency has dramatically improved. "We're trying to get people out of automobiles. But they have to be safe," said DC Mayor Vincent Gray.

Hersman says subway systems across the country need federal oversight. And Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski's National Metro Safety Act is part of the Transportation Reauthorization Bill -- which is in a Congressional conference committee right now.
And there are signs now that it may actually get out and get passed and signed into law.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan








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Twitter: @BruceLeshan


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