A new plaque honoring the victims of the 2009 Metro crash was unveiled Friday. News4's Darcy Spencer reports.
Ever since the 2009 Metro crash that claimed nine lives, people have been leaving flowers, stickers and other mementos on a bridge near the accident site.
Now, on the third anniversary of the deadliest crash in Metro's history, a permanent memorial was unveiled.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has joined relatives of victims, as well as first responders and the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, at the Charles Langley Bridge in Northeast D.C.
A plaque had previously been placed inside the Fort Totten Metro station, but family members of victims wanted something closer to the accident site. They say that is where the crash happened, and that is where they feel most connected to their lost loved ones, NBC4's Megan McGrath reported.
"Because they never made it to Fort Totten," said Carolyn Jenkins, the mother of victim Veronica DuBois. "They never made it to Fort Totten. It happened right here."
Jenkins added that you have to pay to get into the station just to see that plaque. "That's not fair, either," she said. "We have to pay to see our own child's memorial? No, that wasn't fair at all."
In addition to the new plaque bearing the names of the victims, plans are under way for a memorial park and garden.
This anniversary is significant for another reason as well: It marks the deadline for families to file lawsuits against Metro. The statute of limitations runs out today. Several lawsuits have already been filed, and more may be on the way.
A malfunctioning electronic circuit led to the crash, when the driver of one train received no alert to inform her there was another around a bend ahead. That train rear-ended the other near the Fort Totten station. The operator of the rear train and eight passengers were killed, with 80 more injured.
Last year, a silver bell rang as the names of each of the victims were read aloud during a ceremony. The six children of victim Ana Fernandez wore T-shirts bearing their mother's picture.
CLOSURE NOTE: The New Hampshire Avenue/Charles Langley Bridge was closed to all vehicular traffic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the ceremony. Those on foot and bikes were allowed through.