LIRR Fires Engineer Who Let Passenger Drive Train

Engineer fired for letting a passenger operate a train from Hicksville to Long Island City.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The engineer accused of letting a passenger drive a train has been fired by the railroad.

    The Long Island Railroad has fired the train operator accused of letting a passenger drive a rush hour train carrying close to 400 riders between Hicksville and Long Island City on Friday, railroad officials said.

    The LIRR said tengineer, Ronald Cabrera, put passengers, the public, other employees and he in danger after an internal review of the case.

    Cabrera, 40, who has worked with the railroad for nearly two decades, is accused of allowing William Kutsch, 47, to operate the double-decker train at speeds of nearly 80 mph, from Hicksville to Hunters Point Avenue, during the July incident.

    Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment and are facing a year behind bars if they are convicted. Cabrera faces an additional official misconduct charge.

    Cabrera’s union contract allows for an appeal of the firing, but it is unclear whether he will. His lawyer did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

    In the aftermath of the incident, the LIRR reminded employees that only authorized personnel are allowed in the operating cab.

    "The LIRR is committed to protecting the safety of its customers and the public," the commuter railroad said in a statement Friday, according to Newsday. "The actions of this one employee do not represent the efforts of our engineers and train service employees at large who are a highly professional, well-trained and dedicated workforce."