In the days following the tragic Washington area train accident as investigation into the cause of the accident is unfolding, more information has been revealed; however, much more is still needed. We now know that the train responsible for hitting the other train was operating in automatic mode controlled mainly by computer. But many questions still remain at this time including what caused the computerized system to fail and why the approaching train didn't stop even though the emergency brake activation button was found pushed down. According to an article, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, Debbie Hersman, said that it remains unclear whether the emergency brake was actually engaged or not.
No train accident has resulted in so many deaths and injuries in Metrorail’s 33 years of operation. Nine lives were lost and over seventy passengers suffered serious injuries due to the collision. Metro General Manager John Catoe said that all signs of the investigation show that the operator, 42 year old Jeanice McMillan of Springfield, Virginia did everything possible in her control to prevent the collision. "There is no evidence whatsoever that this driver has done anything to cause this accident," Catoe said Tuesday. A memorial service for McMillan, who was killed in the accident, is scheduled to take place on June 26, 2009.