MBTA Fires Runaway Red Line Train Operator

David Vazquez can appeal his dismissal.

The MBTA has fired the operator of last week’s runaway Red Line train, which took an approximately nine-minute trip from Braintree to North Quincy without anyone behind the wheel.

David Vazquez, 53, has been officially relieved of his duties, reports WBZ. Officials say Vazquez, a veteran employee of the MBTA, tied a cord around the train’s throttle as a sort of jury-rigged cruise control.

The train departed Braintree station without Vazquez and traveled four stops before MBTA personnel de-powered the third rail, bringing it to a halt. None of the roughly 50 passengers were hurt.

“We failed our passengers today,” Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said at a press conference last Friday. “Something happened that should not have been able to happen that put our passengers in danger. I am personally and professionally very gratified that in fact no one was harmed, but what happened today is unacceptable, and it will be investigated and changes will be made to ensure that it doesn’t happen.”

Gov. Charlie Baker honored MBTA employees Ainsley “Lee” Saunders and Mark McNeill at the State House on Monday for their efforts stopping the runaway train.

Vazquez did not attend his Monday hearing, citing stress-related illness. He has the right to appeal his dismissal.