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Man Who Lost Leg On BART Awarded $9 Million In Lawsuit Settlement

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A lot of bad things happen on BART, but most of the time, no matter how bad the experience, you make it to your destination in one piece. But, in the case of David Nelson, that wasn’t the case. And it ended up costing BART over $9 million.

Nelson’s leg was completely ripped off of his body.

Back in 2021, Nelson, a San Francisco resident who frequently took BART to get around the city, was removing his bike and other belongings from the train when the door slammed shut on his leg and Nelson found himself caught in a truly horrific situation at the Powell Street Station. 

Nelson’s leg was completely ripped off of his body, which was only one of the several injuries he sustained. 

The worst part is that this accident appears to be negligence on the part of the conductor, and could have been easily avoided.

According to Nelson’s attorney, John Sweeney, there is a video proving that the train conductor was notified that there was something obstructing the door from closing. The conductor allegedly ignored this warning, which caused David Nelson to lose his leg and sustain other severe injuries. 

Now that we got the worst part out of the way, let’s move onto the truly insane part of this whole story: the conductor still has their job. 

This fuck up or complete sociopath that cost BART 9 million fucking dollars, (the largest lawsuit settlement in BART’s history) still has their job… 

I’m all for job security and workers rights, but if you cost your job 9 million dollars of taxpayer money while ripping an unhoused person’s leg from their body, maybe, at the very least, you should get fired. 

But that’s just my opinion. Clearly BART has a different opinion on what constitutes a fireable offense. 

I almost got fired from Round Table Pizza for going to work drunk (which I denied despite it being true), as well as not being enthusiastic when I shook the stupid sign promoting a lunch buffet special that no one really fucking went to. But apparently, BART employees can permanently disfigure and maim you and still collect a paycheck…good to know. 

I don’t want this to seem like I’m shitting on BART. I love BART. Riding on BART is the quintessential Bay Area experience, but almost killing a man experiencing housing insecurity, without repercussion for the perpetrator, is so fucked that it’s hard to comprehend. 

I admit $9 million dollars is a lot of money, but I honestly think David Nelson should have received more. San Francisco, and by extension, the Bay Area, is so rich that it’s a little grotesque at times. The money BART or any other public agency around here spends can be replaced, but David’s leg can’t be. Nor can the mental and emotional pain of experiencing something so traumatic ever be completely cured. 

On the bright side, I’m glad he’ll likely never be homeless again, but he should’ve never been homeless to begin with. The system failed him. When BART permanently injured him, the system failed him again.

And both times, it shouldn’t have happened.





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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is an Oakland-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground is available now!