Red Line operator dozed off, missed stop in 2013, CTA records show
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter May 20, 2014 2:22PM
A Red Line train operator went by this stop in February 2013 after she dozed off for a few seconds, CTA records show. | Sun-Times File Photo
Updated: June 23, 2014 3:39PM
The former CTA train operator who admitted in March she nodded off before a Blue Line train crashed into an escalator at O’Hare International Airport isn’t the only one to be caught “dozing” on the job.
However, a Chicago Transit Authority spokeswoman said Tuesday such incidents are “very, very isolated” after her agency released records showing a rail operator missed a Red Line stop on the South Side in February 2013 after she “dozed off a few seconds.”
CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said it’s only one example out of 227 million train trips every year.
“That’s important perspective to have,” Chase said.
The records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times through the Freedom of Information Act show Tiffany Mazzacano admitted she passed the Garfield Red Line station going northbound the morning of Feb. 17, 2013. She said she didn’t get her lunch that day, “so I was very tired at that moment” and dozed off.
No one was hurt and nothing was damaged, records show. But passengers who hoped to get off at Garfield instead had to get off at the 47th Street station and ride back to Garfield.
Mazzacano was given a one-day suspension and another day of training, the records show. Chase said Mazzacano passed the tests she was given during that training day and remains a CTA rail operator.
But under CTA policy, she could be terminated if she commits another serious safety violation within two years of the February 2013 incident, Chase said.
Mazzacano declined to comment on the incident. Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, couldn’t be reached.
The CTA fired another rail operator — identified as Brittney Haywood — for the 2:50 a.m. crash on March 24 that sent a Blue Line train jumping out of the end of the track bed at O’Hare and crashing onto an escalator. Thirty-two people were sent to area hospitals as a result.
Haywood allegedly told federal investigators she overshot a station Feb. 1 while nodding off. Then she allegedly nodded off again March 24, just before her Blue Line train blew past the last stop at O’Hare.
In April, the CTA announced revised scheduling policies that include an increase in the minimum number of hours between shifts — from eight to 10 — and a cap of 12 actual train operating hours allowed within a 14-hour time period.