VIDEO: METRO rail driver appears to be asleep at controls

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A video taken on a METRO light rail seems to show the driver sleeping behind the wheel at the Elgin/Third Ward stop.

"I was sitting there listening to my music," explained passenger Mitchell Smith, "and some lady ran onto the train and said, 'Hey the conductor is asleep.' I was like, 'What?'"

Smith started recording on his cell phone. He says the driver was fast asleep for about 10 minutes until another rider knocked on the door.

"It's funny but it's very scary," Smith said. "This man had our lives in his hands. What if he just hit the power button and fell asleep or fell out or whatever?"

Metro officials sent this statement: "Obviously, safety is our priority and we are investigating this matter. It is important for the public to know our trains are designed not to move unless an operator engages the safety controls. Also, our operators must take at least a ten hour break between their eight or nine hour shifts. Along that particular line, during their work shifts, operators are given 25 minute breaks approximately each hour."

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RAW VIDEO: A viewer sent Eyewitness News of a METRO conductor who appears to be asleep at the controls.

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