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Metrolink settles with spokeswoman who quit after Chatsworth train crash

Tyrrell200 Metrolink has agreed to pay a former spokeswoman who resigned after last year’s Chatsworth train crash $135,500 to settle potential claims against the agency, according to a copy of the agreement obtained today.

Denise Tyrrell, who recently was hired to manage the state Public Utilities Commission’s Los Angeles office, was the public face of the commuter rail agency in the grim early hours after the disaster, which killed 25 and injured 135.

She resigned within days after being criticized by some Metrolink officials and federal investigators for announcing that a preliminary investigation had found that the Metrolink engineer ran a red light. Investigators have since said the same thing.

Tyrrell later said that Metrolink's chief executive, David R. Solow, had agreed to make the public announcement. Some board members criticized the admission as premature, but other observers praised Tyrrell’s swift candor.

The settlement was signed in March but released only today in response to a Times public-records request. It bars Tyrrell from disclosing confidential Metrolink information or making any statements disparaging or discrediting the agency, its employees or board members.

Tyrrell said she could not comment beyond an agreed-upon statement that the two sides had settled all differences.

“I wish them the best,” she said.

Metrolink had no comment, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca.

Also included in the agreement is a requirement that Solow write Tyrrell, an agency spokeswoman for four years, a letter of recommendation.

The state PUC regulates Metrolink and other rail agencies. The settlement notes Tyrrell may be required to comment on Metrolink in that capacity.

-- Rich Connell

Photo: Denise Tyrrell. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (17)

I remember this day all too well. Ms. Tyrell handled the situation as best as anyone could have, under the circumstances.

I personally wish her the best.

That's just great!! If it was not for people like her, the gov't would be telling lies and givng us half thruths. Trying to manage their liability at the expense of public knowledge.

"Metrolink had no comment, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca."

....Now there's a prolific spokesman. lol

Your tax / fare money at work.

Why not post a copy of the agreement? Do we readers need to file our own Public Records Act requests too?

Ms. Denise Tyrrell you are my hero. I admire that you spoke the truth and did not try to cover it up with PR jargon. I too remember the day of the press release. You've must have gotten so much pressure from Metro's leadership to recant your comments, but you stuck to the truth and your ethics, in the end it is what trully matters.

Atentamente (sincerely),

Someone who respects you...

Good crisis communication requires that you be first, be right, and be credible Ms Tyrell was a true professional apparently in the company of less than competent officials.

Metro has did itself and its ridership a disservice by losing her.

I remember her courage and honesty and empathy that day! I wish her all the best as well!

it's good to see where the future rate hike and extra money from Metrolink cutting the EZ pass from the tickets is going (settlements and costs from their safety failures)

I remember listening to her her comments right after the accident and thinking, she is so refreshing, she is so honest, she is so gone!

She's barred from making any statements disparaging or discrediting the agency, its employees or board members? Hell she doesn't have to say anything. Metrolink's actions speak for itself.

Glad she got something out of this as she deserved better.

A very unique and brave person--- breath of fresh air in my opinion. To this I promise to humanity, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God... Even if it cost me my career!

With candor and competence she represented Metrolink. She spoke the truth. The remaining Metrolink Board and new PR spokesman should be the ones who should resign.

Uh, lets see... There were still bodies on the train and firefighters weren't sure they were going to find anyone else alive - yet Denise decides that it's time to jump ahead of any formal investigation and disregard the personal agony people were feeling at the time she made her statement. While the families were still grieving, she's more worried about covering Metrolink's "image." Even worse, she did nothing to coordinate with other agencies to make sure the public was getting the information they desperately needed at the time... If the Mayor of New York City would have appeared before cameras looking like Denise, nobody would have had any confidence the rescue agencies were doing all they could to help.

So, for $135,000 Metrolink bought a valuable commodity---Silence!

That's right, the Metrolink board used your hard earned tax dollars and your fare money to save their hides.

If it were up to me, I would fire the board and bring back Denise. She told the truth!

I think that she settled too low. She deserved more $$$

Robert Arkow
Webmaster and Metrolink Passenger

Here is a link to the settlement:


I tried to post it before, but there was a typo so it diidn't work...

And yet there are still people who think Metrolink (the commuter rail agency) is the same as Metro (the transit operator).

The names may be similar, but the agencies are different. Ms. Tyrrell worked for Metrolink, not Metro.

Get it right, people.


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