City Desk

So Who Screwed Up The Metro Crash Body Count? Fenty

The one thing you don't mess around with in a tragedy is the body count. But yesterday morning during a press conference on the metro crash, Mayor Adrian Fenty did just that. Even though Metro and the Fire Department had confirmed that nine passengers had died in the Red Line accident, Fenty overruled those officials and confused everyone. Fenty decided presumably on his own that in fact only seven were confirmed dead.

Shortly after the press conference, the body count rose back to nine.

City Desk tried to figure out the discrepency yesterday. Was it a matter of government sources getting ahead of themselves? Was it simply a matter of confusion at the crash scene? Today, the Washington Post published a story which reveals the source of the mix up: Fenty.

The Post reports:

"The confusion over the number of casualties — even as Fenty stood with Metro officials at the news conference — emerged as a particular sore spot. A Metro source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said officials were debating whether they should count those dead people who had not been pulled from the wreckage, and Fenty apparently decided that he should not.

'It indicates that we're not really on top of it if we can't count to nine,' said Tony Bullock, senior vice president of Washington-based Ogilvy Government Relations, who was press secretary to Anthony A. Williams (D) when Williams was mayor.

Fenty said in an interview that he was using 'an abundance of caution' in releasing information and that he might have overdone it. 'Obviously, there's always things that could have been done differently,' he said."

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • Wrack

    Well, duh. Everybody knows that dead people aren't really dead if they're under wreckage. It's like that little man in the refridgerator who turns the light off as soon as you close the door.

    Fenty = Aaaaaaaaaaashoooooole.

  • Q

    Agreed Wrack. It would've been better for him to say "Seven confirmed fatalities but as we examine the wreckage there is high probability for more." I think all Fire/EMS folks learned from September 11th about body counts, forecasting, and accuracy. In this case, the switching of the numbers and Fenty's arrogant personality (clarification that is was SEVEN) made him look worse than necessary.

    I don't want to repeat myself from another blog, but this is EXACTLY why politicians, etc. shouldn't be so quick to stage/hold press conferences. Most folks appreciate accuracy and truth and are willing to wait for it. The listening and viewing public will hold you accountable for what you say, so you better say it clearly, concisely, and accurately. Granted I'm sure Fenty can count to 9 (as his sons are at least that old), but his overzealousness and reactive personality made him look more like an idiot than before.

    In a week's time, he has twice embarassed himself in his own staged press conferences -- Once for the Columbia Heights Press Conference, and now this one. Soon folks will question his integrity and not listen or believe a word he says.

  • RT

    One question, Cherkis. Who cares? Stop making "stories" and issues of a tragedy. You guys jerking off to this is pathetic at worst and disgusting at best.