Union Head: Some Metro Operators 'Afraid' After Crash
Some Metro operators fear for their safety after yesterday's crash, said Lynn Jeter, president of union that represents Metro operators, at a news conference outside Metro headquarters today.
"Some of them are afraid," said Jeter, who heads Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689.
Union members are still trying to figure out how the crash that took the lives of nine -- including Metro operator Jeanice McMillan, 42, of Springfield -- occurred, Jeter said.
"What causes us concern the most is that this was not supposed to happen," Jeter said. "Why didn't the safety mechanism kick in?"
Jeter said she did not want to "lay blame for the sake of blaming. It would be premature for anyone to try to say what happened." Metro workers at the news conference said they will miss McMillan's smile.
"She brought a light into the division," said Ayesha Thomas, who worked with McMillan for six months. "She was always laughing."
Earl T. Beatty, who was McMillan's union leader while she worked as a bus operator, said McMillan's proudest moment was sending her son to college last fall.
Beatty said McMillan, a single mother, once told him that she came to Metro in search of a career. "She is going to be missed by the Metro family," he said. "She was just a positive person. The type of person you'd enjoy to be around."
Co-workers said McMillan was so dedicated to her job that she'd work overtime. Because she didn't have a car, she would sometimes sleep over at the administration's building in Brentwood, take a train home and then a bus back to work for her shift.
-- Ovetta Wiggins
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