FIRED T TROLLEY DRIVER RELEASED
Free on own recognizance after crash
A fired MBTA driver with a lengthy history of driving infractions was released on his own recognizance yesterday after he was arraigned on charges he was using his phone during a trolley crash last year in Dorchester that injured 17 people.
Leroy H. Mattison, 42, of Malden pleaded not guilty in Dorchester District Court to gross negligence, misleading police during a criminal investigation and mobile phone use by a public transportation operator. He is due back in court on March 29.
Mattison, who admitted to storing his loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson in his backpack on the trolley, also was arraigned in Malden District Court on one count of improper storage of a large-capacity firearm near a minor. He is due back in court for that charge on March 12.
Mattison, who was hired by the MBTA in 2001, was behind the wheel of an inbound trolley when it slammed into another trolley at the Cedar Grove T station shortly after 3 p.m. on Dec. 29.
He told T police at the time that he had slowed down and done a “rolling stop” through the Butler station and was heading to Cedar Grove at about 15 mph when he was distracted by two disabled trolleys on the outbound track, according to a police report.
Mattison told police he was trying to turn up the volume on his T-issued radio when he struck the trolley in front of him, the report said.
Initially, he claimed he did not have his cellphone with him at the time, police said. But he later told authorities he had reached into his backpack to “take a quick peek” at his phone and tried to delete a posting he had left the night before on Reddit.com, police said. He was fired after the collision.
Mattison has an eight-page driving record, with multiple license suspensions while he worked at the T — violations the agency said it wasn’t aware of at the time.
NOT GUILTY PLEA: Leroy H. Mattison, 42, above, of Malden pleaded not guilty in Dorchester District Court to charges related to a Dec. 29 trolley crash in Dorchester, top, that injured 17 people.