• Council members: Video sheds light on streetcar crash

    By: Brittney Johnson

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 learned some City Council members saw the video of the crash involving the new Charlotte streetcar from over the weekend.

    WATCH LIVE: CATS officals holds press conference addressing streetcar crash

    The accident is still under investigation, but council members described what they saw on the video to Channel 9 Monday.

    It appears it is possible the streetcar driver may have failed to operate the car correctly.

    Channel 9 has requested to look at the video from Saturday’s crash, and could learn more information Tuesday.

    The police report said the trolley driver tried to stop but he couldn't.

    Phil Mackey was driving the SUV that was struck.

    “Thank God my son is not in the vehicle because my back seat was pushed up toward the front, and if he was back there he could have been seriously injured or killed,” Mackey said.

    The city is self-insured on streetcars, so taxpayers will likely end up buying Mackey a new SUV.


    SUV crashed into by new Gold Line streetcar

    A Charlotte man is home from the hospital after a streetcar collided with his SUV.

    Charlotte transit officials are investigating the cause of the first accident on the Gold Line days after it opened.

    The driver of the SUV, Phillip Mackey, spoke only to Eyewitness News about why he's seeking legal help.

    Mackey said he was sitting at the stoplight when he saw the streetcar coming but it was too late to react.

    The rear of Mackey’s SUV was crunched into the back seat where he normally buckles his 2-year-old son.

    "I'm just thankful my son was not in the vehicle because he could have been not here," said Mackey.

    Mackey said he is a little sore but also grateful he and his friend walked away from his mangled SUV moments after the Charlotte Area Transit System streetcar crashed into it at Kings Drive and Elizabeth Avenue around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

    "It sounded like a loud crunch, like a loud ‘bam’ and I was still in a daze of what just happened," Mackey said.


    Past coverage:


    The crash happened four days after the city celebrated the opening of the $37 million project.

    Mackey wonders if it opened too soon.

    "Should have been more safety checks on that to test the braking system," he said.

    CATS suspended service for a few hours after the crash. 

    Mackey said he is a former school bus driver with a clean driving record. Looking at his totaled vehicle he's hoping transit officials find and release the cause of the accident as soon as possible .

    "I don't want anyone body else to be injured," he said.

    Phillip Mackey said he plans to hire an attorney.

    CATS officials said the incident is under investigation.

    "There were passengers on board the rail vehicle and two passengers in the SUV," CATS officials said Saturday in a news release. "Of the above passengers, two passenger of the SUV was transported to the hospital and no others. All required regulations and CATS procedures are being followed as part of the investigation. Prior to the incident, the vehicle and operator had successfully completed three roundtrips.  The vehicle involved in the collision was tested and cleared to return to the vehicle maintenance facility on its own power for further review.   All current operating rail vehicles have passed all safety checks and are safe for passenger transport.  The CityLYNX Gold Line will continue with normal operations. CATS operators will conduct braking tests at each end of the line and a supervisor will ride on in-service vehicles until the investigation is completed." 

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