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RTD: Operator of derailed light rail train in Aurora approached curve too fast, causing woman to be ejected

RTD has fired the operator of a light rail train that derailed in Aurora near East Exposition Avenue and South Sable Boulevard the morning of Jan. 28.
Credit: 9NEWS
9NEWS viewer Terry Edick

AURORA, Colo. — The Regional Transportation District has fired the person who was operating a light rail train that derailed near an Aurora intersection during a snowstorm late last month, causing one woman to be ejected and numerous other injuries.

In a news release, RTD said that the R Line train operator was driving too fast while approaching a curve near East Exposition Avenue and South Sable Boulevard during the early morning hours of Jan. 28.

An RTD spokesperson said the train was traveling at an estimated 30 mph. The driver was supposed to have slowed down to 10 mph. 

“Light rail operators are trained to slow their trains when approaching sharp turns on the track,” RTD said in the release. “Since it was found the operator was not following safety protocol, RTD has terminated the operator.”

When the train derailed, a woman was thrust into the train car’s door, and because of the amount of force, she was ejected, according to Aurora Police Lt. Jad Lanigan.

RELATED: Woman ejected from train after it derails in Aurora during early morning snowstorm

That woman suffered serious injuries. While Aurora Police Department spokesperson Matthew Longshore could not say exactly what happened to her, multiple witnesses on the scene said her foot was injured.

Several others on the train were taken to the hospital. In Friday’s news release, RTD characterized some of their injuries as serious.

The derailment happened the same day that multiple inches of snow fell throughout the Denver metro area, leading to jackknifed city buses and long delays on the public transportation system -- including the R Line, which was stopped for five hours as investigators worked to determine what led the train to leave the tracks. 

In the news release, RTD General Manager and CEO David Genova said the train derailment and woman being ejected from the light rail has something that RTD had “never experienced” in nearly 25 years.

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