The Ed Show for Friday, May 15th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Show: THE ED SHOW
Date: May 15, 2015
Guest: Jenna Russell, Paul Henderson, Doug Riddell
CRAIG MELVIN, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: Welcome to the Ed Show, I`m Craig Melvin
in for Ed Schultz on this Friday.
You just heard from U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortriz, you also heard from the
FBI Special Agent in-charge and the Lead Prosecutors, the Lead Prosecutor
there, all of them reacting to the juries` decision to sentence Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev to death.
We are, also, we should let you know, are waiting for the NTSB news
conference as well, as we`ve been reporting here this afternoon.
We have been told, by our sources there at the NTSB, we`ve been told that
they spoke to the engineer of this Friday afternoon. That they talk to
Brandon Bostian and we are expecting to find out a little bit more of what
they learn with that news conference get started.
So again, we`re watching this NTSB news conference, but let`s continue to
talk about what just happen there in Boston.
I want to bring in MSNBC Correspondent Ronan Farrow who joins me from
Boston, also, Ari Melber is here in the studio as well.
And Ari, let me start with you here in the studio. Again, one of the
things struck me there from Ms. Ortiz. She is saying that this is not a
day for celebration. This is not a day to celebrate. And she also spent
some time talking about what`s next to this sentencing hearing. Walk us
through a little bit of what we`re going to see play out here of the next
ARI MELBER, HOST, "THE CYCLE": Yeah. In this (inaudible) death penalty
case here, it is the jury that decides that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, not the
judge. It is been the judge who technically goes to that sentencing
process. Dzhokhar stays in federal custody the entire time and that will
proceed. Under federal law, you have a mandatory appeal, so that appeals
Craig, you and I, we`re just sitting there watching this press conference
was -- a lot of people in Boston, a lot of people around the country, when
you think about the import of this terror (ph) prosecution, Craig.
And the other thing that jumps out there was, not only as you say, the
statement by the lead U.S. attorney that this is not a time for
MELBER: You know, just how serious and high level this is, you referred to
the fact that the decision to pursue the death penalty went all the way up
to the attorney general.
It is understandable to imagine the attorney general discussing this long
before it commends with the president. This is a terror case with national
And the other point with regard to not being a time for celebration.
Craig, our reporters there inside the courtroom tell us the jurors were
MELBER: ... and the end of this. They did what they thought they had to
do under the law, but it`s a difficult thing to do.
MELVIN: You mentioned, you`re going all the way up to the attorney
general, of course, that would have been air colder. His successor Loretta
Lynch, put out a statement a short time ago that reads in part, "The
ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we
hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure
closure to the victims and their families". Again, that coming from the
newest woman (ph) Attorney General Loretta Lynch a short time ago.
Ronan, we just heard from Are, again, we know that some of the jurors cried
as that death sentence was being revealed. What about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,
what was his demeanor? Was there any reaction at all?
RONAN FARROW, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: From what we`ve heard, Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev was impassive as he left the courtroom, no emotional reaction
there. But it`s also been clear from a number of people we`ve seen leaving
this building. There`s an element of shock here. The judge actually in
his very final moments saying goodbye to that jury for the last as they
left the courtroom, pointed out the painful poignant (ph) in his words,
nature of the testimony. They had heard over more than 60 days of this
trial been ongoing, of the exhibits they`ve seen that brought back painful
There were people in that courtroom today who lives through the trauma of
this in such an acute way, people Bill and Denise, Richard who are there
today in this building behind me and who lost their eight-year-old son
Martin in the Boston bombing.
They were of the element in this community that felt, they wanted life
imprison, partly so that they could turn a page faster because they were
aware of how long the appeals processes, just how long Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is
like with remain in the headlines with that appeals process, following this
kind of a death sentence.
Other than that, we`re watching as the sun sets here at the courthouse,
just reaction pouring from these different corners. You heard obviously
the press conference took place right here on these ground.
And people saying, you know, that this is not a celebratory moment and
acknowledging that this is the beginning of a long process. Boston still a
long way away from healing completely. And indeed, there still individuals
literally living through the physical trauma of this losing lens even this
year, so in terms of legal proceedings and in terms of the lives affected
far over here, Craig.
MELVIN: You tweeted something a short time ago that caught my attention,
Ronan, that the number of people who had been sentenced to death at the
federal level versus the number of folks who have been executed at the
federal level. What are those numbers?
Well, it gets drifted (ph) to the argument of those in the survivor
community who said, "Look, it will be a longer process to deal with the
appeals process that ensues after a death penalty to which timothy McVeigh
back in 2001 was the last federal execution.
Since then, 44 individuals have been sentenced to the death penalty, none
have been executed. It is very difficult, Craig, to actually execute
someone in the federal system. There are a lot of openings for appeals
If you look at the legal grounds for this verdict, there are things that
can be attack here. The lawyers may go for the fact the venue remains
despite their strenuous objections in Boston. That emotions runs so high
that it may have been hard to impanel and impartial jury. We`ll have to
wait and see what their next line of attack will be, but there will be one
and then likely the years before we see a true resolution.
Meanwhile, this community that showed so much strength through such
difficult times, still really reeling right now, is the sense that I get
Again, as helicopter swarm overhead and gunships go by right behind me, to
(inaudible) scene itself.
MELBER: Well -- And Craig, you know, legally, the jurors don`t take that
into account. We may know...
MELVIN: Don`t take what part into account?
MELBER: That this could take a longtime, it would be very difficult to
What they are asked to do is look at two types of factors. Those under the
law that is statutory factors that are written into federal law, that are -
- that they say are aggravating, they make them more likely these crimes
were so heinous, so deprave, so terrible that this person should be given
the ultimate punishment and they look at some other factors as well. They
don`t look at how long it will take...
MELBER: ... for the punishment to actually needed out.
MELVIN: How real is the possibility? That Dzhokhar Tsarnaev despite what
this jury decided this afternoon, how real is the possibility that he will
never be executed?
MELBER: I will tell you. A, he was very young at the time of the crime
and B, he is a big priority to get done.
So on the list of federal defendant or now convict in his case, he`s going
to be high on the list. And priorities matter, that`s why you talk about
FBI most wanted...
MELBER: ... you talk about prosecutorial discretion when people are
thinking about politics and Obama`s executive actions. Well, this is
prosecutorial discretion in the other direction, not letting someone off
the hook making sure you threw everything out and that`s why there were 30
counts, 17 capital crimes.
I would expect, Craig, that vigor to continue as they deal with the appeals
and try to make sure that he does meet the sentence handed out this
MELVIN: What does the appeals process look like on the federal level?
MELBER: Well, as Ronan was telling us, it looks like mandatory appeal
generally on the fact the there was a death penalty, that goes to the
sentencing phase, phase number 2. But also, potentially a litigation of
any holes, any potential problems anything that was scene to be unfair or
prejudicial in the original trial.
Having said that, the fact is this was a case with a lot of evidence
looking just briefly at the six charges that substantiated the death
MELBER: ... count 4, 5, 8, 10, 14 and 15, they all relate to that pressure
cooker bomb. That was an illegal weapon went under federal laws called the
WMD. And that was use to perpetuate this bombing that injured 260, that
And this jury found on those counts that they would substantiate the death
penalty not on every other count. So with regard to appeal on a death,
which is the only issue, right, life imprisonment is for everything else.
MELBER: You`d have to go back and try to re-litigates some of that. And I
got to tell you, you have the video of them setting the bomb. You have his
mother (ph), you know, exiting (ph) to the boat, you have a lot of
substantial evidence that I think would be very hard to overturn.
MELVIN: The evidence was abandoned and it was also quite deeming.
Ronan Farrow there in Boston, thank you so much. We appreciate you time.
I will comeback to you a little bit later. Ari Melber, we`re going to --
we want you to stick around as well.
We are, again, we`re also waiting for the National Transportation Safety
Board press conference. We expect when that happens that we`ll learn
little bit more about the investigation, that Amtrak derailment this
weekend in Philadelphia.
Again, we`re told that federal investigators have talked to the train
engineer, they`ve talk to the man who is doing (ph) that train when it
derailed. When that happens, we`ll bring it to you live.
This is MSNBC, stay with us.
MELVIN: Coming up on the Ed Show, more reaction to the Boston bomber
sentencing leader. New details from Philadelphia, the NTSB has spoken to
the engineer of that derailed Amtrak train.
MELVIN: And welcome back to the Ed Show on this Friday, we continue to
follow today`s breaking news from Boston.
Our jury has sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the
marathon bombing there.
I`m joined now by phone, joining me now on the phone by Jenna Russell, Co-
author of the "Long Mile Home". She has spent a great deal of time with
victims and families. Paul Henderson is a Veteran Prosecutor, he is a
Legal Analyst as well, and Ari Melber is also here with me in the studio,
MSNBC Host and Chief Legal Analyst with the network.
Let me start with you, Jenna. Again, I know that you spend a lot of time
with victim`s family, survivors of this bombing, have you had an
opportunity to speak with any of them since this decision was -- handed
JENNA RUSSELL, CO-AUTHOR, "THE LONG MILE HOME": I haven`t spoken directly
with anyone today. But seeing some reaction from folks, very mixed as you
would imagine from a diverse group of people who are deeply affected.
MELVIN: Paul, are you surprise by what their jury decided today? Are you
surprised that unanimous? And I think it`s important to note here once
again that in Boston or excuse me, on the federal level decision to execute
has to be unanimous decision. In here, you had everyone agree, did that
surprise at all?
PAUL HENDERSON, LEGAL ANALYST: Not really because of how quickly they came
back. And this is why you hear the prosecutors continuing to say, over and
over how thorough and how exhaustive this process was. I know that the
prosecutors had to be conscious and aware while they are presenting the
case out here. Because, you know, in Massachusetts, they`ve banned the
death penalty back in 1984.
And so, they were being very methodical and very careful about laying out
all of the reasons exhaustedly as to what they thought would qualify and
these jurors should come to a decision in justifying death penalty.
And so, obviously, they were weighing and evaluating the factors and 17 of
the 30 charges that he was convicted in, where they analyze that there were
multiple people that were harmed, that they presented evidence talking
about the substantial planning and the intent that went into this crime,
and the heinous nature of this crime.
And so, this verdict really was that jury rejecting the defense
presentation that was made to them, that he was co-opted into this by his
older brother, or the he had not a big criminal history in this case that`s
what I think.
MELVIN: Standby for me a quick second. Some of the victim`s families and
perhaps some of the survivors as well, have started speaking here outside
the courthouse. Let`s listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, just the -- that that in fact that there will be
appeals, is that your only regret about it or was there something wrong in
LIZ NORDEN, MOTHER OF TWO BOMBING VICTIMS: I`m just going to speak about
the ongoing appeals. I`m not going to get mine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the defense succeeded in humanizing that Dzhokhar
NORDEN: I followed what the defense was doing, and I think they did their
job as well as they could.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That same question to you, sir.
MICHAEL WARD, Firefighter: I`ll make my own statement please, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Identify yourself.
WARD: Michael Ward, W-A-R-D.
WARD: Can I speak, sir? Please, I`ll give you a moment. That I remember
when those bombs went off and I remember that the vile disgusting thing
that this person did and his brother. And they destroyed countless
innocent lives, destroyed bodies and hearts, a very vivid memories for many
people and many families.
This is nothing to celebrate. This is a matter of justice.
The U.S. Attorney`s Office had done a tremendous job on the very difficult
circumstances. They`ve had to look at these videos, look at the evidence,
interview the victims and their families.
No one here is celebrating. And if you ask 10 people, you get 10 different
opinions. But the investigators, the law enforcement officers, and the
first responders that day, came together and speaks volumes for the
strength of this nation. And I`d like to thank everybody for they`ve done.
But ultimately justice has prevailed today.
His premeditated actions to stand behind children, wait four and a half
minutes with a fully-loaded bomb, and then to call his brother and tell him
when to explode his bomb moments earlier.
His justice now -- he wanted to go to hell and he`s going to get there
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us what your connection is with the
incident? Did -- were you injured or just?
WARD: I was an off-duty firefighter and I went and treated a lot of the
victims there as did many other people.
WARD: He`s going to go to hell. That`s where he wanted to go. But he`s
going to get there quicker than he thought.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was your role that day, Mike? Sorry. You`re an
LAURIE SCHER: My name is Laurie Scher, L-A-U-R-I-E-S-C-H-E-R.
I mostly want to thank the state for giving us just a tremendous amount of
support. This has been a long, exhausting couple of months. It`s been
I have met so many wonderful people. I just am grateful again to have met
so many wonderful people. And it does show that through tragedy, people
can come together and be warm and supportive.
Quite frankly, I am going to miss being with my friends here. It`s a
terrible way to come together but as I said I am grateful I was able to
share these harrowing couple of months with these people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laurie, were you ever (inaudible) and did the defense
success in any way as humanizing this man whom Michael Ward described as
someone who should go, I think he said, go to hell?
SCHER: I think there`s no doubt that I`m sure at one time in his life, he
was a very lovely, caring young man. What he turned into obviously was --
we know what he turned into. He turned into a monster. Why did that
happen? We`ll never know.
My feelings on him are nothing but -- what can I say?
SCHER: No, he doesn`t. I have my personal feeling about that, and I think
I`d like to keep them to myself.
DANA COHEN, FATHER OF BOMBING VICTIM: My name is Dana Cohen. My daughter
was injured at the marathon. And I`d like to thank Carmen Ortiz and her
team of prosecutors as well as all of their support staff in the assistance
who took care of all the survivors.
I wasn`t in court every day as some that are behind me, but I`ve been very
supportive and they`ve been very supportive of me and my family.
And today is the first day I get to wear my "Boston Strong" bracelet
because they`re not allowed in the court. So today is a good day.
And my family and I do support whatever decision the jury came out with,
would be the right decision because they`re the ones that were instructed
to follow the evidence, listen carefully, and come up with the right
I`d like to thank for the press that someone said...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELVIN: We just lost our feed there in Boston. As you can see that that
was Dana Cohen, Dana Cohen talking about his daughter who was injured
there, she was among to more than 260 injured when the bomb when off.
Thanking the first responders, thanking the attorney`s as well.
Again, that`s happening in Boston roughly 300 miles away in Philadelphia
that any moment now, the National Transportation Safety Board is expected
to give us the final update from Philadelphia.
We`re told that this is going to be the last field update that the NTSB is
going to be conducting. We`re going to get an update from federal
officials there. We are expecting to hear a little bit more about what
they learned from the engineer who was driving the train on Tuesday.
Again, we`ll go to that news conference any moment when it happens.
Ronan Farrow still outside the courtroom for us there in Boston. Ari Melber
here in the studio as well.
Ronan, let me comeback to you there in Boston. I know you spend a lot of
time there over the past weeks and months, and you spend a lot of time
talking to folks there in Beantown.
We`ve been talking about this poll, you know, nearly 70 percent of the
folks who are asked by the Boston Globe death penalty or life imprisoned.
The majority of those folks said life imprison, what was the sense that you
got from people that you`d talked to there?
FARROW: Certainly, that`s born out anecdotally. I think most Bostonians
would agree with that account. It doesn`t mean there are exceptions and
one interesting facet of this kind of a federal capital punishment cases.
Actually, during jury selection, they are allowed to use as a prerequisite
that you must be to join a jury of this kind ready to impose the death
penalty at least theoretically. You can have misgivings about it but you
have to be willing to impose it if the outcome dictates that in the room.
So, you`re already dealing with jurors here that are not necessarily
representative of that swat of Bostonian (ph). You talked about from that
poll and certainly...
MELVIN: Good point.
FARROW: ... that side of the equation was represented on the ground in
full force. They were picketers outside of the court house right here,
this building behind me, all day, standing out from prop with sign saying
for instance, you know, "Death is murder of any kind". There was a group
of veterans in particular that were rallying with those sort of signs.
So an interesting cross section of those Boston attitudes showing up. That
said though, Craig, there is still a lot of anger her and particularly
you`ve just heard in that press conference how devastated the police were
by this, how many we`re wounded.
Actually, one of the individuals who witness lot of the proceedings in this
trial was an officer name Richard Donell (ph). You know, he is just going
back to work today, this week after two years of rehabilitation for his
injuries. So for police officers like the ones all around, you can`t see
them in the (inaudible), to either side of frame there are armed officers
with sniffing dogs doing their service...
FARROW: . for the country and for Boston. It`s a raw issue for them,
MELVIN: Ronan Farrow, Paul Henderson, Ari Melber, again, a big thanks to
all of you.
Once again, we`re still waiting for that update from the NTSB when that
happens we and, you know, what we`re going to take a break -- let`s not do
that right, let`s listen to the NTSB.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: .. who`s gone update on the investigation and take your
ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: All right good afternoon.
I`m Robert Sumwalt and I`m board member with the NTSB. And I realize that
we are later than we have said we would originally be and the reason for
that is around 4:30, we started getting some news about the interviews and
some other things that we felt that were important for you to know about.
So we have the latest so that give the report, that information to you.
We`ve interviewed three crew members today, and I want to point out I`m
going to recapture some of the things that they have said. But I want to
point out that that these crew members have been traumatized through this
accident that they were in, and they`ve not fully recovered from their
We did interview the engineer today. It`s been widely reported. He`s 32
years old. He had his FRA, Federal Railroad Administration required
physical just last month. Our investigators found the engineer to be
extremely cooperative. He was accompanied by his lawyer which is not at
all unusual. And the engineer encouraged us to contact him further again,
contact him again, if we need anything else. So again, we found him to be
He recalls ringing the train bell as he went through the North Philadelphia
Station, that`s not a normal station stop for him but he`s required by
regulations to sound his bell. I`m might have said horn, his required
sound his bell as he goes through pass the station stop. And he did that,
he recalled doing that, but he has no recollection of anything pass that.
He felt fully qualified and comfortable with his equipment, and he reported
no problems with his handling. And when I asked, he demonstrated a very
good knowledge of -- a very good working knowledge of the territory, speed,
speed limitations things like that.
He began his railroad career while he was in college as a brakeman. He
started with Amtrak in 2006 as conductor. And in 2010, he became a
Since 2012, he is worked out of New York City and he has been on this
particular job for several weeks. He works 5 days, it`s an out and back
trip for him goes New York, Washington and back to New York 5 days a week.
And said that he did not feel fatigue nor getting report any illness.
As we were reported the other day, the train has three conductors. The
conductor is not able be interviewed as he is still in the hospital however
we did a interviewed the two assistant conductors.
I call her the assistant conductor number one. She was 39 years old, she
was hired by Amtrak in 2011, and she was in the fourth car which is the
caf‚ car. She stated that before departing Washington the entire crew
conducted a safety briefing where they went overall of the speed
restrictions along their intended route.
Sure part of it, it was a normal run through Philadelphia. Everything was
normal up through Philadelphia and she said she could hear the transmission
of the locomotive engineers. The conductors carry radios and they are
frequently talking to and listening to the locomotive engineer. So she
could hear the transmissions from the locomotive engineer. She reported
that approximately 3 to 4 minutes after departing Philadelphia, she said
she heard the engineer talking to SEPTA engineer.
She recalled that the SEPTA engineer had reported to the train dispatcher
that he had either been hit by rock or shot at. And the SEPTA engineer
said that he had a broken windshield and he placed his train into emergency
stop. She also believe that she heard the engineer say something about --
she also believe that she heard her engineer say something about his train
being struck by something.
This is her vow and this is her recollection. And certainly, we`re going
to be conducting further investigation of this comment. Our investigation
is not independently confirm this information but we have seen damage to
the left hand lower portion of the Amtrak windshield that we have asked the
FBI to come in and look at for us. We often time rely on the FBI for their
technical expertise in such areas and they will be there tonight looking at
this particular damage to the Amtrak hit locomotive windshield.
Of course, when the engine went through the impact, the windshield was
shattered but there`s particular damage there that we want them to look out
We`ve secure the track image recorder, by the way, from the SEPTA train to
see what we can learn from that.
Now, moving forward, right after she recalled hearing this conversation
between the engineer and the her engineer in SEPTA engineer, she said that
she felt rumbling and her train leaned over in her car went over on that
side. She said they were not able to self-evacuate and they waited for the
emergency responders to get them out.
She said she had about 15 passengers in her car.
We ask what her relationship, working relationship was with her locomotive
engineers and she said, she work with him a good bet and said that she was
great to work with. She said he was always offering to help her with her
Let us move to the system conductor number two. He is 35 years old. He
was hired by Amtrak in May of last year. Just a few days before the
accident, he had celebrated his one year anniversary with Amtrak. He was
in the seventh passenger car, that of course is the last passenger car and
he reported having about 40 people in his car.
Up to the (inaudible), he reported no problems other than some radio
problems, radio problems with his portable radio. He said that
sporadically, he could hear but not sure that some of those transmissions
were going out.
At the point that we`re describing at the rotation of the accident, he said
he felt shaking, then two major impacts. He said that interior seats
disconnected. He attempted to contact the Amtrak Dispatch Center but he
does recall receiving response.
He assisted with the evacuation injured passengers until he was instructed
by emergency responders to go seek medical attention on his own.
He said, he had not worked much with the Amtrak engineers or the accident
trip but he did say that he was happy with the engineer and described the
engineer as very, very professional.
So what we`ve described as the information that allowed us to delay the
press conference so that we could report that information to you. We got
some other investigative activities that we`ll tell you and on what`s been
You know, we`ve mentioned through the week that 3D laser scanner. We have
done a 3D laser scanning of the locomotive interior and exterior. We
scanned an exemplar passenger car so that we can compare the exemplar
passenger car to the damaged cars. And we`ve also documented interiors
safety factors (ph) in all cars.
We`ve continued the testing of the signals and the signal circuitry.
Basically, as the tracks are being rebuilt our signal specialists are going
on to check the continuity of the signal circuitry.
Over the weekend, we planed to reassemble the train sets as much as we can
to put it back together, connect the brake lines and conduct the brake test
and that would take several days.
On the course of the last few days, someone here have asked, what we would
do if we could not talk to the engineer and how would we resolve it. We --
one of the things we`ve call for in the wake of a fatal train crash in 2008
where 25 people were killed including the engineer.
The NTSB issued recommendations for forward-facing image recorders and
inward-facing image recorders. So something that would give us video
image, video and audio image of what`s going on inside the locomotive cab
as well as the advertising cameras. And of course this train did have an
outward-facing camera. We also feel it`s important to have the inward
The FRA that issued -- that`s recommendation was issued in 2010 when we
completed our investigation of that accident in Chatsworth, California.
And the FRA had replied that they would do intent to act upon that
There is a lot to be done until the last few days. We`ve gotten a lot done
but this will be our final press breaking on scene. Future information on
this accident will be coming from our press office in Washington, D.C.
In just a moment, I`ll ask Peter (ph) to explain that process. But
basically I think you can follow us on our webpage www.ntsb.gov and also
follow us at Twitter. I think you know our Twitter handle is @ntsb.
I want to emphasize that even though this is the final press briefing
certainly, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and will be done
over the next several days on our investigative team is here in
There`s a lot that needs to be done and will be done. But anyway, that`s
the end of my prepared remarks, and if you would please raise your hand.
I`ll call on you and identify your outlet. Yes ma`am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) from New York Post. He said that his
route is from New York to Washington and back to New York?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he coming back, that was in fact the journey of
SUMWALT: He does. Was that his second journey of the day, That was just
his -- the answer is this is one round trip. So he starts in the early
afternoon, Washington -- excuse me, New York, Washington back in New York,
so it`s one round trip.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much time is between that?
SUMWALT: How much time is between that? We will have his schedule. I
don`t have an immediately in front of me. But is that often said, we are
hear to get information that will go away with passenger time. His
schedule, which we can get next week, but we want to do things like trying
interviews and things like that, court interviews. Yes, sir?
SUMWALT: Other than human input what else to explain the acceleration for
the train. The train is -- the train does not have (inaudible) airplane
for a longtime. We had airplanes that have automatic throttles that the
trains did not have, automatic throttles, and so it`s a manual input.
We`re going to be -- through the event recorder, through the black box if
you will. We do -- one of the parameters recorded is throttle movements.
So we`ll be looking at that to see if that might correspond with the speed
increase but we`re also looking to see if there could be any type of a
mechanical anomaly that could potentially cause the train to accelerate
without an input. So we come right here.
SUMWALT: We`ve been able to get back to the talks reports and is there any
other video that we might be able to learn from.
Let me address the video issue first. We`re always surprised and happy
that there are video sources that come from on unintended sources like, has
been recorded on the media. There was security camera that recorded some
sparking (inaudible) explosion as the way they described it on TV, that
probably came as results of the catenary lines collapsing after -- the
accident. So, you know, people have cellphone cameras and things like
So we`re always looking for additional sources of video, information. If
anybody has video information that we don`t know about, we`d love to hear
about it from our witness log. That witness log is at firstname.lastname@example.org, so
we`d love to hear from that.
Also, the first part of the question was talks results. Let me say first
of all, I hear people talking about blood work (ph). We do not, the NTSB
does request the blood work, we don`t do that. But the federal law,
whenever as a transportation accident involving commercial entities,
federal law -- safety sensitive transportation workers are required to
perform drug and alcohol testing. That is done by the carrier in this case
by Amtrak. So Amtrak has conducted that in accordance with the
regulations. At least that`s the information we have at this time. That
information to set, we take a split sample.
Amtrak sends that to their independent lab. We send it to our independent
lab in Oklahoma City. And one of the FRA, I`m sorry, the DOT requirement
is for five specific drugs to be checked for. We send it to the FAA in
Oklahoma City to look for many, many drugs, over the counter drugs.
So that`s a long answer to say that that process takes time, however, the
process has been initiated.
There`s a question right here.
SUMWALT: This is MSNBC, based on what you say at the scene and the
interview that you`ve done so far today, what is the preliminary conclusion
you can draw in terms of what caused this crash? You said you want to look
at the a particular part of the window, what is it exactly you`re looking
for, what did you see that raise suspicion?
SUMWALT: Yeah. Lots of questions there, what conclusions can we draw the
answer to that is easy, we do not draw conclusions at this stage of an
accident investigation. We`re here to collect information. We will draw
conclusions at the completion of the investigation which will be after a
very thorough and comprehensive investigation.
Regarding the question about what damage patterns to that windshield are we
having the FBI look at, it would be a on the -- if your standing in the
middle of the locomotive car (ph), the center line, over here is where the
engineer windshield is, over here is the other windshield and in the lower
portion of the left hand windshield there is a, a circular pattern, it
emanates out just a bit so that`s the damage to that.
SUMWALT: We are going -- what could have cause that, we are going to and
that will be part of the analysis and that`s exactly what we`re going to
There`s a question right here.
SUMWALT: Let me cut you first sir, I`ll come to you next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is ________, does the NTSB requires similar
compliance to truck drivers to the number of powers in the wheel with that
SUMWALT: Just the NTSB -- I`m sorry, does?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Required similar compliance to truck drivers?.
SUMWALT: In terms of hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Number of hours.
SUMWALT: What hours of service requirements are there out there for
various modes of transportation? Those are not regulated by the NTSB.
Those are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. And they are
different depending on whether you`re a trucker or a commercial bus driver
or of airline pilot or whether you are train operator. So you`re very
complex and to seat here and explain it right now. I have to, to spend a
lot of time looking through the regulations but they are different
according to each mode of transportation. Yes, sir?
SUMWALT: Does the engineer indicate from his injuries that there may have
been -- that he may have been struck by something interring the cab and the
he did not report anything to that to that effect when he interviewed --
when we interview him this afternoon. Yes, ma`am?
SUMWALT: Did it come from the assistant -- I`m sorry, did the engineer
report anything about that conversation about the projectile or being
(inaudible) in the interview and the answer to that is...
SUMWALT: Well, he specifically ask that question, yes. He was
specifically asked that question and he did not recall. He did not recall
anything of that sort but there, again, he does not -- he reported that he
does not have any recollection of anything past North Philadelphia
SUMWALT: Hang on just seconds, can we somehow, you know, kill those fans,
Jim (ph), can you figure out how to work that thing over there. Thank you.
That`s good job, almost good job. Oh, that`s Eric (ph), thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know you said you don`t have the schedule right
now, do you know if this two route where the only one report today that he
did prior to the New York to Washington and he does in the other trips?
SUMWALT: No. Had he done any other trips of that day? No, he had had
not. He reported for duty in New York, took his train to Washington and
then he was on his return trip to New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the second question, you said that you got the
track image recorder from that to train to learn more, can you point that
SUMWALT: Yeah. Do we have any information from the track image recorder
the video recorder from the SEPTA train and we have just secure that, and
have not look at that, have not evaluated that yet. Yes, ma`am?
MARY CLANDEL, (PH) A.P: Mary Clandel (ph) with A.P. Did he report having
any problems on the way down as the train and asking formally?
SUMWALT: Did he report having any troubles on the train going down. He
operated a different train going down and also he reported that no, no
fatigue throughout the day or any illness throughout the day.
CLANDEL (ph): And no problem somewhere down in these roads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had some technical problems on train going down
that`s gone in about 30 minutes late.
SUMWALT: All right, thanks. And did he operate the (inaudible) or was it
at one of the region? OK. So just for the microphone purpose, he did
apparently have some technical problems on the route down to Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And to followup, if not recording fatigue, if he
report that that was frazzled (ph), that he was frazzled (ph) in anyway
from that experience.
SUMWALT: I have no knowledge of him being frazzled (ph) as a result of
being on time or being a little late. So we go right here.
ERIC DEAN, DAILY NEWS: I`m Eric Dean with the Daily News. Two more
questions, in the video, is there any evidence in the video, images
(inaudible) on the train that showing projectile, have you seen anything
like that? And just to clarify that, as you think conductor when she said
she overheard someone on the (inaudible) she believes that the engineer
saying that, so (inaudible) something that strange, is she believe in that
context, does she believe it was at that moment, he was speaking or
SUMWALT: Well, OK. So does the track image recorder from the Amtrak train
revealed anything about anything being thrown at the at that train and when
we evaluated it yesterday we did not see anything. We will, of course,
we`re very interested in this report, we want to learn more about it. So
we will use all sources of information that we can to independently
The second part of your question which if I already forgotten was exactly
MELVIN: And we`ve been listening to Robert Sumwalt, he is a board member
with the National Transportation Safety Board,.
Again, saying that they have spoken to the engineer of that train they talk
to him for about an hour and a half. He said that the 32 year old did not
recall anything after ringing his bell right outside Philly. Said that he
did not feel fatigue, he did not report an illness. And Amtrak is tested
him for drugs and alcohol we`re waiting on results of those test.
Doug Riddell is a retired Amtrak engineer, he joins me now. Doug, you were
watching that new conferences as well listening to it with me what struck
DOUG RIDDELL, RETIRED AMTRAK ENGINEER: I was in interested in the fact
that the two assistants conductors where in radio communication. The more
senior, the two conductors said, she heard the conversation. I`m very
curious about as to whether they have interviewed the SEPTA engineer he
said that he had a broken windshield.
RIDDELL: This is happened. And not sure -- I thought I heard the engineer
188 saying somebody had shot at him and they are.
RIDDELL: . going to be they`re going to be looking at the windshield.
I can tell you that the windshields on these locomotives, they cause like
$3,000 or $4,000 a piece, their specially built to absorb bricks at high
rates of speed, they do shatter. I will say this that -- I`ve had a break
in the windshield, I have people shoot at me.
MELVIN: Shoot at you, they fire weapon?
RIDDELL: Oh yes. I was running the train from Pittsburgh back to -- from
Pittsburgh back to Washington one time and I actually saw the guy they
arrested him. He would shot at us with a riffle. The bullet went through
the side of the car and ended up in the luggage rack.
Yes, this happened so that was up in the country. The air where he was
running though I mean that`s it`s not unusual to find shopping carts debris
in the middle of the tracks, people just trying to see if they can, you
know, and the curiosity is whether they can derail the train or whatever.
I mean it`s not really good but getting back to my point. I`ve had a brick
thrown at me. I`ve had my windshield knocked out. So you can imagine the
force with reinforce windshields and that`s at rather scary that`s the --
it kind of makes me wonder and here again I don`t know the time.
RIDDELL: He was he was conscious the fact that I mean we do things by not
by road so much as by have it. You go through a station your supposed --
it was a station where your not going to stop you have to warn people that
might be standing on the platform, they`re going to catch a commuter train
or catch another train. You have to warn them so you do blow the horn,
ring the bell, depending on the railroad property on. And he remembers
doing that and then.
MELVIN: It struck me though it`s very odd, Doug, that he remember nothing
after that and didn`t seem to be able to explain why he did not remember
anything after that.
RIDDELL: Well, this is one (inaudible). I mean I`ve -- when something
have this, I`ve always felt from the beginning when I heard this that
something happen that wasn`t explained then I thought maybe it was going to
be able to -- it was going to be able to explain this. It could have been
that he so shocked him that that he couldn`t remember.
MELVIN: Doug Riddell, retired Amtrak engineer. Doug, thank you so much.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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