Updated 04/04/14 – 1:04 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — CTA officials were taking steps to fire the train operator who fell asleep at the controls of a Blue Line train before it crashed at O’Hare International Airport last month.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports termination papers were being served on Brittney Haywood late Friday morning. She was hired by the CTA a year ago, and she began operating trains in January.
Haywood has admitted dozing off while operating a Blue Line train as it entered the O’Hare station shortly before 3 a.m. on March 24. She didn’t wake up until the train crashed at the O’Hare terminal.
The train jumped the tracks and smashed into an escalator, forcing the CTA to close the O’Hare station for a week, while federal officials investigated and then CTA crews repaired the damaged platform.
Three dozen passengers were hurt, as was Haywood.
The National Transportation Safety Board said an automated braking system activated when the train entered the O’Hare station at about 25 mph, and the train was trying to stop, but it is unknown why the brakes failed to prevent the train from derailing.
Haywood has admitted dozing off at the controls of a train once before, according to the NTSB. In that incident, in February, she woke up as the train was pulling through a station, and at least one car of the train missed the platform, but the train did not miss the stop entirely.
The NTSB’s preliminary findings on the crash are expected next week.
The CTA’s contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union authorizes the agency to fire rail operators who have had two serious safety violations in a short period of time, and officials said the two incidents when Haywood dozed off qualify her for termination.