2009 Metro Red Line crash memorial unveiled

A malfunctioning electronic circuit led to the crash near the Fort Totten station. (Photo: NTSB)

It was three years ago Friday that nine people were killed in the deadliest crash in the history of Metro. On June 22, 2009, two Red Line trains collided on the tracks in Northeast Washington, and now there's a memorial on that spot to honor those who died.

At an unveiling ceremony attended by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and many other city leaders, a permanent memorial to the nine victims was introduced on the Charles Landley Bridge on New Hampshire Avenue. The bridge passes over the spot where the trains collided.

"It's a day of reestablishing the fact that we have to focus on safety," Metro GM Richard Sarles said.

A few years ago, a small plaque was installed at the Fort Totten Metro station to honor the victims, but families and friends have pushed for the city to create something more personal and closer to where the accident occurred.

It was another emotional day for people like Steve Cochran, whose niece, Veronica, was killed in the crash.

"Time is going by pretty fast," Cochran said. "It just gives us a place to come home."

An equipment malfunction was to blame for the deadly collision between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations in the District, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded. The train's conductor, Jeanice McMillan, and eight passengers were killed.

Eighty other people suffered injuries in the crash, one that officials say changed the way Metro views safety for the better.

"We will forever remember what happened here," Mayor Gray said. "We will remember the fallen and find joy in their lives and the ways in which they enriched the world around them."

Gray and other officials also took the time to thank the countless first responders who helped prevent more lives lost.

"Our public safety officials rescued, triaged, treated and transported the injured within the first two hours of the incident," Gray said. "Their heroism was on display that day."

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