BART's Tab For Legal Fight in Worker Deaths Could Top $500K

April 18, 2017

NBC Bay Area
By Jaxon Van Derbeken

BART’S legal tab to fight state regulators seeking to fine the transit agency for the 2013 deaths of two track workers will likely top a half-million dollars, NBC Bay Area has learned.

To date, BART has spent about $450,000 in legal fees and could spend close to $600,000 under an authorization granted in February by BART’s governing board. That’s equal to the sum now sought by the state Public Utilities Commission over the Oct. 19, 2013, deaths of BART engineer Christopher Sheppard and track consultant Laurence Daniels.

Commission regulators blame what they call BART’s “poor and inadequate” safety culture in the deaths, which occurred during the second of two strikes that year.

They point to the in-cab surveillance video as proof that the driver in training, who was driving on open tracks for the first time that day, was unable to sound the horn after spotting the workers up ahead north of the Walnut Creek station.