BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Brighton Municipal Court jury found MBTA operator Owen Turner not guilty of gross negligence Wednesday for his role in the 2021 Green Line crash.
Turner was operating a Green Line train on July 30, 2021, when it smashed into the back of another trolley on Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University. 24 passengers and three MBTA workers were hospitalized with injuries. Turner has since been terminated from the MBTA.
A report from the National Transportation Safety Board published on Jan. 5, 2023 concluded that the driver's sudden acceleration and "loss of situational awareness" were the probable cause of the crash. Event recorder data showed that Turner's train was traveling over 20 miles per hour over the speed limit just before the two trains collided. Turner told investigators at the time that he did not remember what happened, but believed he had fallen asleep.
NTSB investigators said Turner's "workload and work schedule were not contributors to fatigue on the day of the accident," and he tested negative for alcohol and drug intoxication.
The trial began Tuesday with attorneys presenting evidence. Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Addady argued for the prosecution that Turner neglected his duties and disregarded safety protocols. Turner's defense attorney Matthew Peterson argued that the crash was an accident.
Turner, 51, of Mattapan, did not testify before the defense rested Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, the jury deliberated for only 30 minutes before acquitting Turner of his charges.
"I always said I was innocent," Turner told reporters outside of court. "I'm glad they found me innocent."