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The Mass Media

Preliminary report reveals door control system failure in case of man killed by MBTA train

An+MBTA+bus+parks+outside+of+the+Broadway+Red+Line+station+in+South+Boston.
Josh Kotler
An MBTA bus parks outside of the Broadway Red Line station in South Boston. Photo by Josh Kotler / Mass Media Staff

**Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of graphic violence**

The National Transportation Safety Board has revealed in a preliminary report regarding the death of Robinson Lalin that a door control system on a Red Line train did not work correctly on the night of Lalin’s tragic death. Lalin, a 39-year-old man from Dorchester, was attempting to get off a Red Line train at Broadway Station when his arm got caught in the door and he was dragged roughly 100 feet alongside the station platform before he died.

The incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. on April 10. The official NTSB preliminary report, which was released on May 2, states: “MBTA trains are designed and equipped with safety features to prevent them from moving when the passenger doors are obstructed. NTSB investigators examined and tested the railcar involved after the accident, identifying a fault in a local door control system that enabled the train to move with the door obstructed.”

According to The Boston Globe, the MBTA stated that “immediately following” Lalin’s death, “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.”

Kevin Lalin, Robinson Lalin’s 30-year-old nephew from Everett, spoke to The Boston Globe regarding the release of the report.

“I don’t know what’s going on with the MBTA, where the money’s going,” said Lalin. “We have these so-called new trains … It’s a slap in the face for me … All the family has is a cremated family member who was basically cut into pieces.”

Following the release of the NTSB report, the MBTA released a statement of acknowledgement.

“The MBTA acknowledges the release of the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report and expresses its appreciation for the NTSB’s diligent work on the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Robinson Lalin on April 10 at Broadway Station,” reads the MBTA’s statement. “The MBTA would once again like to extend its deepest condolences to the Lalin family regarding this heartbreaking incident.”

“I want to hear from the MBTA,” said Kevin Lalin to WCVB. “They’ve said sorry in a board meeting, but that’s not enough. You haven’t called me. You haven’t spoken to my mother or grandmother. We deserve an apology. We deserve something from the MBTA. They’re responsible for it.”

The MBTA, specifically the Red Line, has had several accidents and incidents as of late. Most recently, an out-of-service Red Line Train derailed on April 23 while switching tracks near the Kendall/MIT station. Prior to that, a Red Line train filled with roughly 50 people derailed at Broadway Station in September of 2021. No one was injured, however, many individuals including UMass Boston students, faculty and staff were delayed.

On Sept. 26, 2021, an escalator meant to carry Commuter Rail passengers to street level became flat like a slide and started moving in reverse. Several individuals were injured during the incident and a family from Louisiana even sued the MBTA.

As of now, the NTSB’s investigation is open and remains ongoing. According to MassLive, investigators have looked at security footage, conducted interviews, observed train functions, and will continue to focus the investigation on the equipment the MBTA uses and the procedures of operation the MBTA employs.

About the Contributors
Abigail Basile, News Editor
Josh Kotler, Photographer