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MBTA: Operator Used Cellphone Prior to Orange Line Trolley Collision

Transit authorities say a trolley operator was on his cellphone prior to last year's collision with another train in Boston that sent 16 people to the hospital.

The Boston Globe reports Leroy Mattison, 42, of Malden, told investigators he was trying to delete a post he had made on Reddit at the time of the crash Dec. 29. Authorities say he also had a loaded .40-caliber handgun in a backpack on the trolley.

Court records show transit police are seeking criminal charges against Mattison that include negligence, witness intimidation and using a mobile phone while operating a public transport vehicle.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said Monday Mattison who was hired in 2001, was fired following the police report.

"The MBTA is extremely disappointed with the alleged conduct of this former trolley operator, who jeopardized the safety of both customers and employees. The MBTA has strict rules and policies to which all employees must adhere, and will not tolerate conduct that puts passengers at risk," read a statement to the Boston Globe.

Mattison has declined to comment.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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