WALNUT CREEK (KCBS) — BART has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a wrongful death suit brought by the family of a contractor who was struck and killed by a BART train in 2013, according to court documents the agency released Tuesday.
Laurence Daniels was measuring a dip in the tracks between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations alongside BART employee Christopher Sheppard when they were killed.
A trainee was operating the train at the time. The California Public Utilities Commission reports that he saw the two workers standing in the middle of the tracks, applied the emergency brake, and tried to sound the horn, but hit the door control button instead. His supervisor was not in the control cabin at the time, and the CPUC found evidence that the supervisor was sending texts and making phone calls, including one text sent just one minute before the accident.
BART policy at the time allowed the men to work within a certain distance of the tracks and made workers responsible for their own safety, according to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and two state investigations.
BART has since instated new security measures including new security policies, improved communication, physical safety barriers, and other changes, according to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.
“There is nothing more important than safety and the safety of our employees,” she said.