Transit Authority Slammed for Report about Conductor Death

The president of the union representing train conductors in New York City is incensed about a report from the Transit Authority (TA) that claims a conductor's death from a blow to the head on Jan. 18 was her fault for holding her head outside the cab of the train for too long.

"It seems the TA can not restrain itself from instinctively blaming the victim and evading responsibility," Roger Toussaint, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, told the Daily News.

According to the TA report, conductor Janell Bennerson kept her head out of her cab for 369 feet, allegedly to watch the platform. That distance is more than twice what is required by TA. The report notes that the doors on the train driven by Bennerson apparently were malfunctioning before the accident, which might be the reason she watched the platform longer than usual.

"It is clear and undisputed from the evidence how conductor Bennerson was being diligent in observing the doors due to recurring door problems," said Toussaint.

Also undisputed in the case is that Bennerson was killed when her head slammed into a steel fence as the train was moving away from the platform.

The TA report did note the close location of the fence to the side of the train (18 inches) and sun glare as contributing factors.

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