George Andrews, a Miami-Dade Transit employee who was killed Monday near the Earlington Heights station when a moving train struck him, was walking on the tracks after parking his train on a side track because it had been malfunctioning, the director of MDT, Ysela Llort, said Tuesday.
He had a train that was not functioning correctly and central control told him to park the train in what we call a pocket, north of Earlington Heights. He then was walking back to the station and was 30 yards from the station.
Llort declined to give further details saying the case is still under police investigation. Miami-Dade police detectives, who are investigating the incident, said they will not provide all details until the investigation is completed.
Jeffrey Mitchell, vice president of the Transport Workers Union Local 291, which represents Metrorail operators, said walking on the track after parking a disabled train is normal procedure for MDT. What is unclear, he added, is why the train hit Andrews while he walked on the track.
A train operator who parks a train on a side track and then begins to walk on the track must advise his position to central control and technicians there must warn all trains, said Mitchell.
"The problem is that the trains are not like cars," said Mitchell. "The operator of the train that hit him may have seen him on the track, and may have applied the brakes immediately, but the train does not stop immediately."
Llort's explanation of the incident departs from the original explanation released by county police.
According to investigators, the decedent, a Miami-Dade County Transit employee, was working on the Metrorail tracks when he was struck by the moving train. He died on the scene, the police statement said Monday.
According to Llort, Andrews was operating a Green Line train between Dadeland South station and Palmetto station when the tragedy occurred.
Llort said Andrews was a highly valued employee of MDT. He was 47 and would have turned 48 on Friday. His family could not be reached Tuesday.
He was a very beloved family member, and very well thought of by the transit family, said Llort. This is a tragedy to the transit family and we are in mourning.
Llort said she had ordered that every employee receives counseling if desired.
Andrews began working as bus operator trainee on Nov. 23, 1987, said Llort. Then he became a Metrorail operator full time in the summer of 2003.
Metrorail has two routes, the Green Line from Dadeland South to Palmetto station and the Orange Line from Dadeland South to Miami International Airport (MIA).