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Metrolink engineer sent texts on day of crash

September 17, 2008 |  6:56 pm

Federal investigators said today that records from Metrolink engineer Robert M. Sanchez’s cellphone show he sent and received text messages while on duty Friday, the day he was involved in a catastrophic collision in Chatsworth.

However, investigators have not yet analyzed the records to determine whether Sanchez was using his phone at the time he slammed into an oncoming Union Pacific freight train, causing an accident that left 25 people dead and 135 others injured.

“The safety board will correlate those records with other investigative information to determine as precisely as possible the exact times of those messages in relation to the engineer’s operation of his train,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.

The agency had subpoenaed the phone records after hearing news reports that several youths said they exchanged text messages with Sanchez shortly before the head-on crash.

--Robert J. Lopez