Photo by Ben Schumin
A July 2021 Green Line crash injured 27 riders, prompting the action
While Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins is leaving her position to become a U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, one of her final acts will be to launch a criminal investigation into an MBTA accident that happened last summer. This past October, trolley operator Owen Turner was “charged with negligence of a person having care of public conveyance and gross negligence in management of a train,” having caused the crash, according to a media release.
“As I leave the position of District Attorney, it is vital the public be kept informed of the ongoing work of this exceptional office to keep the communities we serve safe. There is perhaps no single state agency that impacts the daily lives of the millions of people who live and work in the greater Boston area more than the T,” said DA Rollins. “Therefore, it is imperative that if we see a continued lack of oversight or negligence at the MBTA that it is exposed and corrected.’’
She added, referring to Turner’s management of the trolley:
“Mr. Owen was operating at three times the speed limit at the time of the crash. As his colleagues and supervisors were aware, he had a reputation for speeding and a history of violations. The MBTA had a duty to address its employee’s reckless behavior. The agency failed to fulfill its legal obligation to take meaningful action in light of the real safety risk these acts created. We will be looking into whether the T’s behavior, or lack thereof, merits criminal action.”
This is not the first time that Rollins has “held corporations responsible in connection with the behavior of its employees or owners.” She stated that when an employer turns a blind eye on reckless behavior, they become complicit in that action.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.