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Posted at 4:52 PM ET, 05/19/2010

Metro operators back at work

By Washington Post editors

Two Metro operators who had been placed on administrative leave after the body of a Rockville man went unnoticed for five hours are back at work.

"Our review concluded that they conducted themselves in accordance with our practices and procedures," said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

Man who died on Metro identified
4:31 p.m.

Rickey Jay Van Houter, 52, of Rockville died Monday on a Red Line train while on his way to work. His family confirmed Wednesday that he left home headed to his job as a computer programmer for a government contractor. His wife, Ilene, told the Post that Mr. Van Houter had been up late the night before working on a project, which delayed his morning commute.

A Metro employee discovered Mr. Van Houter on a Red Line train at the Shady Grove Metro Station Monday afternoon. Mr. Van Houter had boarded the Red Line at Twinbrook Station, shortly after 10 a.m., Metro officials said. The train he was on traveled to Silver Spring Station, returned to Shady Grove and was taken out of service and moved to the rail yard shortly before noon. About 3 p.m., the train was was being placed back into service, and a Metro operator discovered Mr. Van Houter unconscious. Emergency officials pronounced him dead after 3:30 p.m.

The family requested that an autopsy not be performed because of religious reasons.

Ilene Van Houter said the family was notified of her husband's death by Metro Transit Police about 7:20 p.m. Monday.

-- Katherine Shaver

2 placed on leave after Metro train death
1:21 p.m.

Two Metro operators have been placed on administrative leave while the transit agency investigates the death of a man who boarded a Red Line train Monday and was not discovered for five hours.

Metro also announced that following the incident operators are now required to walk through every car of each train that is brought into a rail yard at the end of the line to ensure that no one is left onboard, spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said. Previously no walk-through was required.

One of the people placed on leave operated the train, which left the Shady Grove station Monday at 10:11 a.m., turned around at Silver Spring and returned to Shady Grove shortly before noon. The operator was required only to do a visual inspection of the train from the platform, and reported that no one was was on board.

Another operator then drove the train into the rail yard. The train was out of service until 2:55 p.m, when a third operator found the man slumped in his seat, and Metro called emergency officials. The second operator was not required to walk through the train when it entered the yard, officials said.

-- Lisa Rein

By Washington Post editors  | May 19, 2010; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia  | Tags:  metro, red line, train  
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How does METRO know when the man boarded the train? METRO has had the worse luck I've ever seen.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | May 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

All they have to do is check his farecard to know when he entered the system. That would give them a rough idea of when he boarded.

Posted by: mirrorball | May 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I have seen people sleeping before so I don't think it is THAT crazy to think that they would let him be for a little while

Posted by: Bious | May 19, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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