A King County Metro employee training to supervise Link light-rail operations was arrested after locking himself in the control cabin at the rear of a railcar.
The March 7 incident delayed a northbound train at Stadium Station for 4½ minutes.
It began at Beacon Hill Station about 7 p.m., when fare inspectors asked the 45-year-old man to show proof of payment. He showed an ORCA fare card, but it hadn’t been used.
The man was not wearing a uniform, but he showed Metro ID and urged inspectors to confirm his identity by calling the train-control center, Sound Transit’s report says. Metro operates the trains. Inspectors say the man argued he was on duty. They believed he was off-duty, and they called police.
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The man used a key to lock himself inside the vacant operator’s cabin, according to the inspectors. After knocking on the door, police obtained a key from the train operator in the front and opened the rear cabin, reported the King County Sheriff’s Office, which supplies transit police. They handcuffed the man, then released him to a Metro rail supervisor.
Paul Bachtel, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, objects to how the worker was treated.
“He’s a new hire, and his uniform hadn’t come in yet. I have no idea why he was in the rear cabin, but he is a supervisor and can go where he so desires. The question I have is, why did police cuff him instead of just calling dispatch to verify his identity?” Bachtel said.
The employee is on paid administrative leave while Metro investigates. Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said there’s no reason for an off-duty employee to carry a key.
Deputies recommend charges of unlawful transit conduct, obstruction and providing false or misleading statements. Prosecutors haven’t decided whether to file charges.
Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @mikelindblom