MBTA Driver Responsible for Crash Had Cell Phone, Gun on Board

The Mattapan trolley operator who caused a December collision has been fired.

The MBTA driver responsible for a Mattapan trolley crash that left 17 passengers injured in late December was on his cell phone at the time of the accident, the Boston Globe reports.

According to a police report, the operator, 42-year-old Leroy Mattison of Malden, grabbed his phone ahead of the crash in order to delete an old post from Reddit. He then collided with another trolley near the Cedar Grove station, causing several riders minor head, neck, and back injuries. Cell phone records also indicate an outgoing call was made from his phone minutes before the crash.

Mattison also admitted he had a loaded .40-caliber Smith and Wesson gun in his backpack at the time of the accident. Transit Police are pressing criminal charges against the driver ranging from witness intimidation to using a cell phone while operating a public transportation vehicle, according to the Globe.

The MBTA said in a statement that it “is extremely disappointed” by Mattison’s behavior, which “jeopardized the safety of both customers and employees.” Mattison, who was hired by the MBTA in 2001, has been fired.

If Mattison had been following MBTA rules, he wouldn’t have even had his phone on board. After a terrifying bus crash in May 2014 left eight people injured, the MBTA instituted a no-cell phone policy for train and bus operators. Drivers are not allowed to have phones in their possession while on the job, and anyone caught with a device on board is suspended for 30 days and recommended for firing.

According to the Globe, the MBTA is considering phasing out the Mattapan trolleys, which are incredibly difficult to repair, altogether. The agency is due to finish a study on the topic early next year.