Second Anniversary of Fatal Metro Crash Observed

Online Editor | 6/23/2011, 3:15 p.m.
District and Metro officials took time out on June 22 to observe the second anniversary...
Monica Cochran, center, covers the eyes of crash victim Veronica Dubose's daughter Ava,3, left,and her son Aaron Cochran, right, while being consoled by her cousin Sherry Pate, far right. The photo was taken when a picture of Cochran's deceased sister was displayed during the second anniversary memorial services for the victims of Metro's deadliest train accident. (Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

District and Metro officials took time out on June 22 to observe the second anniversary of the horrific Metro rail crash that claimed the lives of nine people and injured about 70 others.

The observance was held at a memorial site in Northeast near the Fort Totten Station, where a wreath was also laid. The worst accident in Metro's 35-year history occurred at the height of rush hour on the Red Line after a train collided into another that had been standing still. The collision was reportedly attributed to failure within the rail's safety system.

As Mayor Vincent Gray and others took turns addressing the crowd, many like Kenneth Hawkins who lost his brother, said they think about their losses every day.

"I live with this every day," Hawkins said. "There's not a day or moment that we don't think about Dennis or something or someone is coming up or approaching us to remind us of Dennis."

Gray said however, that their relatives had not died in vain.

"For those who sacrificed their lives in this accident, I hope their families will take some degree of comfort in knowing that they have preserved the future of this system, because it finally ended what should not have been a debate in the first place -- and that is investing the money that's needed in order to preserve our Metro system as the best in the world," Gray said.

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles, who assumed the post in January, added that the agency shares the families' grief. He said that in honor of those who lost their lives, Metro has rededicated itself to changing its safety culture -- which has included beefed-up training initiatives to effect safer commutes.