Questions remain in CTA stroller accident

November 4, 2009 2:52:25 PM PST
Many questions remain about the baby injured when her stroller gets stuck in the doors of a CTA train on the city's North Side.The baby survived a harrowing ordeal after witnesses, including her mother, say she was thrown down to the tracks at the Morse station on the Red Line but miraculously survived.

The child was not seriously injured. But the incident triggered an investigation into what happened.

Now, other witnesses who were on that train are coming forward with their take on what the train's operator did in the moments after.

After our reports on Tuesday, a nursing student who got on the southbound train at the stop after Morse -- Loyola -- said she noticed a bunch of strange happenings as she rode in the first car, the car carrying the train's female operator or motorman.

Lauren Mardirosian is a mechanical engineering graduate who is now studying to be a nurse at Loyola University. She was headed downtown on Monday when on board she saw the motorman announce her train was going to be stopped for a while.

"A couple of minutes went by then the operator came back with a stroller and put it outside of her booth and then decided to bring it into the booth with her," said Mardirosian.

Mardirosian says the train proceeded to Thorndale station, two stops south of where she got on and three stops south of where the incident took place.

"Then a couple of stops later at the Thorndale stop we stopped again and she took it from the booth and put it on the platform at the Thorndale stop," said Mardirosian.

The nursing student says the motorman was assisted in this effort by another uniformed CTA employee. The motorman was relieved of control at the Lawrence station, as per CTA protocol. The union says that if the stroller travelled that far it would have been badly damaged.

"Something doesn't add up," said Robert Kelly, Amalgamated Transit Union.

Kelly, whose union represents the CTA motormen, says his investigation shows the stroller was found on the platform at the Berwyn station, two stations south of where Mardirosian says she saw it left.

"Stuff is not adding up here. Someone or a combination of four things happened: the motorman is not telling the truth, there was a major malfunction in the train, the woman is not telling the truth or a combination of all four," said Kelly.

The mother of the child, Ebere Ozonwu, lives in Rogers Park and was not home when ABC7 knocked on her door seeking comment.

The child was taken to Children's Memorial Hospital and released on Tuesday evening. The motorman, a CTA veteran who has been driving trains for six years, is suspended from her job while the investigation continues.

CTA had no comment on Wednesday's developments in the story. CTA told ABC7 they are going to interview Ms. Mardirosian.


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