MBTA says human error is focus of the probe into train crash that killed Wilmington woman

Contractor failed to return safety system to its operating mode, transit officials say

State transit officials said a contractor performing maintenance at a Wilmington railroad crossing failed to return a safety system to its normal operating mode Friday, resulting in a crossing gate not coming down just before a commuter train struck and killed a woman in her car.

A statement Saturday night from Steve Poftak, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, said “human error” is the primary focus of an ongoing investigation into the crash by MBTA Transit Police, State Police, and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

Roberta Sausville, 68, of Wilmington, was driving eastbound on Middlesex Avenue when the driver’s side of her vehicle was struck by an Inbound Haverhill Line train near the North Wilmington MBTA Station at about 5:51 p.m., the district attorney’s office said in a statement.


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