FIRED T TROL­LEY DRIVER RE­LEASED

Free on own re­cog­ni­zance after crash

Boston Herald - - OPINION - By MARIE SZANISZLO

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.

STAFF FILE PHOTO, TOP, BY NI­CO­LAUS CZARNECKI; HER­ALD POOL PHOTO, ABOVE

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.

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