Operator of CTA train that struck, killed woman is fired

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The Chicago Transit Authority has fired the engineer of a train that fatally struck a woman who descended from a station platform onto the tracks to retrieve her cellphone.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele says video taken inside the train's cab shows its operator looked away from the track ahead for 12 seconds before 37-year-old Felon N. Smith of Chicago on June 27 was struck as she tried unsuccessfully to avoid injury.

The video also shows the operator laughing and appearing to point at someone or something outside a side window.  

Steele says the employee was fired last week for "failure to devote attention to duty and ensuring safe train operations." However, Steele says it's impossible to say if the operator could have stopped the train on time if he had been paying attention.

The employee had been a rail operator since 2006 and had no previous safety violations.

A second video on a train platform shows Smith climbing down on the tracks to retrieve a dropped cellphone. She then walks in the direction of the oncoming train.