Seattle transit agency removes safety officer after crash

SEATTLE, Wash. (AP) — Seattle's transit agency has removed its top safety officer as a result of a fatal 2017 train derailment.

The Seattle Times reported the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority removed Salah Al-Tamimi as its chief executive safety and quality officer.

The agency better known as Sound Transit services the Seattle metropolitan area.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff says Al-Tamimi is on medical leave, but may be able to return in a lower-ranked position in another department.

Rogoff says the decision was related to a fatal Amtrak Cascades derailment on Sound Transit-owned tracks in DuPont in December 2017.

The National Transportation Safety Board placed primary blame on Sound Transit for failing to require safety improvements where the derailment occurred.

The derailment occurred on the first passenger trip through the $181 million corridor.

Three train passengers died and 57 passengers and eight people traveling on the I-5 highway were injured.

An Amtrak engineer missed at least one sign about a speed restriction and steered the train through a curve at nearly 80 mph (129 kph) in a 30 mph (48 kph) zone, causing railcars to fall onto I-5.

The NTSB says Amtrak, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration were also responsible for the crash.