NTSB: CTA operator admitted falling asleep before O’Hare crash

The National Transportation Safety Board says the operator of the CTA Blue Line train that crashed at O’Hare Airport has admitted falling asleep at the controls.  And Monday was not the first time it happened.

NTSB investigators are in Chicago to determine what caused the crash that injured 32 people.

The NTSB says the train operator was cooperative and forthcoming in her interview.

She was hired in April of 2013 but had only been running trains for the past 60 days.

In Feburary she dozed off and overshot a station so that it was unsafe to open car doors.  The CTA admonished her but she was allowed to continue working.

On Monday she was coming to the end of her shift which would take her back and forth on the Blue Line between Logan Square and O’Hare.  She told investigators that she overslept before her shift started and that she was running late to work.  She was not taking any medication at the time of the crash, and she says she woke up upon impact.

That impact has caused $6 million of equipment damage that investigators know of so far.

The NTSB has more work to do to determine how she spent her time outside of work and her level of responsibility.

Investigators say her erratic schedule could have been the problem behind falling asleep twice.

No comment from the CTA today, but a spokesperson indicated that the agency may provide an update to the media a little later.  There are a lot of unanswered questions on the CTA’s end so far.