NTSB: Door malfunction caused death of man who was dragged by MBTA Red Line train

BOSTON — The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday that a short circuit in a train door was to blame for the death of a man who was dragged by an MBTA Red Line train last year.

Robinson Lalin, 39, of Boston, was killed when he got stuck in Red Line door at the Broadway Station and was dragged to his death on April 10, 2022.

“The probable cause of the passenger fatality was a short circuit in the passenger door interlock circuit on the accident railcar that enabled propulsion on train 1034 with the door obstructed by a passenger, causing the passenger to be dragged along the platform,” according to the NTSB. “A short circuit, or short, is an unintended electrical connection between two conductors that causes an electrical current to bypass its intended path.”

In a statement to Boston 25, the MBTA said its own investigators also found an issue with the train’s door caused by a “short circuit.”

“The NTSB has confirmed the MBTA’s initial assessment of a short circuit in the car’s wiring that allowed the train to begin moving while Mr. Lalin was attempting to exit through the closing doors,” said the T.

The T says no other similar issues were found on other Red Line trains.

“Immediately following the accident, the door systems throughout the Red Line fleet were tested for this specific problem, and MBTA personnel found all components performed as designed and did not identify any additional instances of the circuitry problem the incident car experienced” according to the T.

25 Investigates has reported on the safety system that is the focus of the investigation.

The family of Lalin filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

A complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court alleges that the train operator “negligently, willfully, wantonly and/or recklessly failed to confirm the platform and subway doors were clear of passengers before pulling the train away from the station while dragging him to his death.”

At the time of the deadly incident, Lalin’s nephew, Kelvin Lalin, told Boston 25 News, “From my experience taking the train, they always check to see if it’s all clear before they can go. I’m suggesting the guy wanted to go home, the conductor wanted to go home, so I guess he didn’t do his job correctly and didn’t check and ended up killing a man and we’re all devastated. It’s very unfortunate.”

Lalin’s body was dismembered as he was dragged along the tracks, and he suffered “great pain of body and anguish of mind resulting in pain and suffering prior to death,” the complaint stated.

The MBTA, in the complaint, is also accused of failing to upgrade subway cars and taking unsafe cars out of service. A subsequent National Transportation Safety Board investigation linked Lalin’s death to a “fault” in the train’s door.

The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages for medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity.

Robinson was a father to a boy and girl, Christopher and Ariana.

Memorial held for man killed in Red Line accident

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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