Operator in Metro train smoke tragedy declined to testify

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The man at the controls during the deadly Metro train smoke incident declined to testify Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill, according to Metro.

Curly James was among the witnesses scheduled to talk to a House Oversight subcommittee. Metro said they wished James would have shown up, but he did not want to and Metro cannot make him.

Lawmakers were "dissecting" what safety changes Metro has made since January, when an Alexandria woman died and dozens of other people were hospitalized after a train filled with smoke soon after leaving the L'Enfant Plaza station.

"Although the NTSB has yet to determine the exact cause of the January incident, it has revealed, that some electrical connections associated with the power supply to the third rail were improperly constructed and installed without what they called 'sealing sleeves,'"

said Rep. John Mica, (R-FL), Chairman of the House Subcomittee on Government Operations, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

The protective "sealing sleeves" would cover the high voltage rail from moisture and debris that...may increase the risk of electrical shorting.

The subcommittee is also looking into Metro's finances.

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