Boston prosecutors are considering criminal charges against the transgender trolley driver who crashed into another trolley while texting his girlfriend, officials told ABC News today.
The office of Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley made the statement a day after ABCNews.com revealed that Aiden Quinn was hired in 2007 from a lottery that consisted of minority candidates. Quinn's status at that time was female-to-male transgender, and sources told ABC News that status was what qualified him as a minority.
The crash, which injured 46 people, is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Administration and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. But it is also being investigated by Conley's office for potential criminal charges, a spokesman for the DA told ABC News.
"The investigation is ongoing," said Conley's spokesman Jake Wark. "We have reviewed several statutes with potential relevance to this case."
Quinn's union representative met today with investigators from the MBTA and the National Transportation Safety Board. An earlier meeting scheduled for last Sunday was canceled when Quinn said he was too sick to attend.
The Green Line trolley Quinn, 24, was driving rear-ended another trolley that was stopped between two underground stations in downtown Boston Friday night and he told police he was texting at the time of the crash, officials said.
Three of four trolley cars were crushed and MBTA officials estimated the cost of damages from the crash at $9.6 million.
Quinn was originally hired as a part-time driver by the MBTA under the name Georgia Anne Quinn. In 2007 he was hired for a full-time position from a lottery of minority candidates. He was granted minority status as a self-described "female-to-male transgender," two sources told ABC News. Quinn lists his sexual orientation as "FTM."
"[Quinn] was initially hired as a minority and used her transgender status,'' an MBTA source said.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo told ABC News there was "nothing unusual" about Quinn's hire, and that he was picked out of a lottery that he entered in 2004.
Formerly a part-time trolley driver, Quinn was hired as a full-time trolley operator from a streetcar motorman in March.
Sources said he received three speeding tickets in his private vehicle, two in New Hampshire in April 2007, one in Massachusetts 2002.
He will be fired later this week if investigators verify that he was using his cellular phone before the crash, MBTA general manager Daniel Grabauskas said.
Meanwhile, the head of the Boston-area transit authority said Saturday he'll ban all train and bus operators from even carrying cell phones.
Federal investigators have said the crash was not caused by mechanical problems, but was a result of the operator running through a red light and a yellow light before the collision.
Officials said the trolley Quinn was driving was traveling at 25 mph when it hit the waiting train. They said it was not clear whether Quinn was braking, but if he wasn't, the idling train would have been visible for at least 13 seconds before it was struck.
The waiting trolley was pushed 31 feet down the tracks after it was struck, officials said.
If it turns out to be true that Quinn was texting his girlfriend at the time of the crash, he would be at least the 10th driver guilty of the offense in the last year.
At least nine other bus and trolley drivers have been suspended in the last year for texting or talking on their cell phones while driving.