Federal regulators on Thursday launched a 60-day safety assessment of Metro-North Railroad following the December 1 derailment that killed four people and left 70 others injured, officials said. Teams will review the commuter railroad's compliance with federal regulations, its procedures and practices and its safety culture, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Transportation. "Safety is our top priority, and this in-depth investigation will help ensure that Metro-North is doing everything possible to improve its safety record," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in the statement. The DOT's Federal Railroad Administration will issue its findings and recommendations once the assessment is complete.
By Lori Grannis MISSOULA, Montana (Reuters) - A Montana bride who pushed her new husband to his death from a cliff in Glacier National Park pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday in an 11th-hour plea deal with prosecutors that will spare her from a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Jordan Graham, 22, reached the deal just as closing arguments had been due to begin in her federal murder trial in Missoula over the July 7 death of her husband of eight days, 25-year-old Cody Johnson. In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors agreed to drop first-degree murder charges that could have carried a mandatory life sentence, if she had been convicted, as well as charges of lying to law enforcement. "The court finds Jordan L. Graham competent, and I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that she is guilty of ... second-degree murder," U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said following the plea.
By Chris Francescani NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City transit officials have begun testing new technology that aims to guard against a rare but terrifying prospect for subway riders - tumbling into the path of an oncoming train. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials are installing four different "intrusion detection" systems at undisclosed locations along the city's roughly 660 miles of subway tracks, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. For the city's 5.3 million weekday subway riders - many of whom brave shoulder-to-shoulder crowds on packed platforms during rush hours - the fear of falling or being pushed into the path of an oncoming train is ever present. "I stand in the center of the platform until the train has pulled in," said Christal Smith, 31, a Bronx nursing home supervisor.