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Boston Man Killed on MBTA's Red Line: Here's What We Know

An independent safety expert said something like this is "entirely avoidable" and should never have happened

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Many questions remain unanswered about how a 39-year-old Dorchester man was killed in an incident on the MBTA's Red Line early Sunday morning.

Robinson Lalin, who was identified by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Monday, died after being dragged into the track area as the train left the station. His arm got stuck in the doorway of an inbound Red Line train at Broadway Station in Boston at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

Officials haven't said whether Lalin was getting onto or off of the train at the time.

MBTA officials have declined to answer questions about what kind of sensors are in place when the doors close, whether the car may have malfunctioned or whether the operator may be at fault. But experts have said it is the train operator's responsibility to make sure the doors are clear before closing them and departing the station.

Expert says tragedy was 'entirely avoidable'

Keith Millhouse, a rail safety expert and former chairman of the Metro-Link, Southern California's train system, said the tragedy was "entirely avoidable" and should never have happened.

Millhouse is not part of this investigation, but the independent safety expert said any time a train leaves the station, it is ultimately up to the train operator to ensure everyone is clear before pulling away from the station.

"If you haven't done that, it is like skipping a portion of your checklist, on a preflight before you take off, it is just standard operating procedure," he said.

“It should be really, really hard for someone to get hurt or die getting on or off the T,” Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, told The Boston Globe.

MBTA investigation underway

The MBTA did say that the train operator, who was hired in 2018, will remain off duty during the investigation.

In a statement, the MBTA said the investigation will include "collecting statements from witnesses, reviewing any images captured by cameras, and examining vehicle maintenance and inspection records." Investigators have said they do not believe foul play was a factor.

A passenger died after having his arm stuck in the door of a train on the Red Line of the MBTA.

Lalin's family said MBTA investigators visited their home Monday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board is now leading the investigation, while Lalin's family is left to cope with the loss of the father of two and wait for answers on what went wrong.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he thinks it is "appropriate" for the MBTA not to say anything "until they have the ability to get actual answers to the questions people have."

"I certainly have encouraged them to move as quickly as they can, but again, I want to make sure they get it right," he added.

Baker also noted that the state has spent almost $6 billion on modernizing the MBTA over the past seven years, and he believes it is safe to ride.

Victim's family demanding answers

Lalin's family said he was headed home from South Boston to Dorchester when he died.

His aunt, Nely Norales, told NBC10 Boston that she helped raise her nephew since he was just eight months old.

"My heart now is broke, I want to cry, but I am not going to, I have to be strong," she said.

Family members said Lalin was someone who lit up a room, the life of the party. Now, they're demanding answers.

"I want to know, I want to find out what happened to Robinson, How? How can it be possible to die like that?" Norales said. "When he put the hand, nobody see that?"

MBTA officials say a comprehensive investigation is underway after a deadly incident at the Broadway station overnight.
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