With his client facing charges of reckless endangerment in the second degree for allegedly operating a Long Island Rail Road train, LIRR passenger William Kutsch's lawyer said, "Mr. Kutsch is anxious to let this take its course. When the facts and circumstances are known, he is confident that he will be vindicated." Kutsch is accused of being behind the controls of a westbound LIRR train on July 2—and the engineer at the time, Ronald Cabrera, was also charged with second degree reckless endangerment as well as official misconduct.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice had emphasized yesterday that Kutsch's alleged 25-mile route—from Hicksville to Hunters Point Avenue in Queens—had seven car crossings, one pedestrian crossing, and 24 home signals. And the train, a double-decker 500 ton train, held 400 passengers. Rice said, "We can prove that the cabin only has space for one person and that the passenger went in and out of the cabin right before and right after the train’s trip. We can also prove that the train needed a foot on the safety pedal to operate and that the train’s engineer was outside of the operator’s cabin during the whole trip. On top of that, we have witnesses who report hearing the passenger make incriminating statements after the train arrives in Hunters Point. People on the train and in the communities along the tracks deserve to know someone’s being held accountable for this unimaginably reckless act.”
The LIRR says it has started disciplinary proceedings ("up to and including possible termination") against Cabrera. Additionally, there is some sort of relationship between Cabrera and Kutsch, a court stenographer, but it's unclear what their connection is.