Metro Transit Police are investigating the July 29 derailment on the Silver Line after Metro’s general manager expressed concerns about findings from the internal inquiry.
Metro Board of Directors Chairman and DC Council member Jack Evans said conflicting interviews led Metro General Manger Paul Wiedefeld to have Metro Transit Police begin their own investigation of two Silver Line train cars derailing while switching tracks last month.
“I talked with Paul (Thursday) and essentially what he told me... he’s getting inconsistent and contradictory information from this investigation to the point he found it was necessary to bring in criminal investigators,” Evans said.
There was no comment on specifics regarding the focus of the police investigation.
Safety Department inspectors briefed Wiedefeld about the derailment investigation and said concerns rose from inspection reports, rail defect tracking, employee interviews and video recordings, according to a Metro news release. Wiedefeld said he wanted Metro Transit Police to conduct an investigation parallel to the one that is ongoing.
“The administrative review uncovered information that warrants further investigation by Metro Transit Police,” Wiedefeld said. “While Safety Department investigations determine cause and accountability, it is even more important to understand if other issues must be addressed with the way track inspections and maintenance have been conducted.”
Evans said Wiedefeld did not tell him whether Metro Transit Police are conducting a criminal investigation in particular.
Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye, when asked whether the case is criminal, said, “We’re not in a position to comment further at this time.”
“The public has a right to know that the tracks on which their trains run are being properly inspected," said Wiedefeld. "The information uncovered to date raises potentially serious concerns, and we will take all actions necessary to get answers and hold people accountable."
Metro said in a news release that General Counsel Patricia Lee, a recent hire by Wiedefeld, asked two former Assistant U.S. Attorneys to support the internal administrative review as “special investigators.” Both Adam Hoffinger, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter White, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and for the District of Columbia, have ‘extensive prosecutorial experience with complex cases,’ according to Metro.
Evans called for the Metro Board of Directors Safety Committee to meet Aug. 25 to discuss recent safety events including the derailment and Metro’s increased frequency of red signal overruns. The Board does not usually meet in August.