Operator involved in Boston trolley crash pleads not guilty

October 6, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — The operator of a Boston-are light rail train that crashed into the rear of another train in July, sending more than two dozen people to the hospital, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two criminal charges.

Owen Turner, 50, was released on personal recognizance after his arraignment in Brighton Municipal Court and barred by a judge from driving his personal vehicle except for family business.

He declined to comment when questioned by reporters outside of court.

He is charged with gross negligence of a person in control of a train, and gross negligence of a person having care of a common carrier.

The crash on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Green Line B branch on July 30 near Boston University sent 27 passengers and MBTA workers to the hospital with minor injuries.

According to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report, Turner had his train on “full power” and was traveling 31 mph when he struck a train going 10 mph. He also never applied the brakes, according to the report.

According to court records, Turner told police that he received a signal light indicating he was cleared to proceed but that “he does not remember anything” before impact.

He also told police at the crash scene that he did not fall asleep, but told investigators the next day that he thought he fell asleep.

Turner has a history of operating trains at excessive speed, according to authorities.

He has been suspended without pay and the MBTA has said it is moving to fire him.

He is due back in court Dec. 8.