Report on BART passenger dragged to death criticizes station conditions

A new report from federal investigators reveals new details on the death of a BART passenger who was dragged when her dog's leash got caught in a train's sliding door.

Dim lighting in an underground BART station "likely made it difficult" for the train operator to see passengers at the far end of the platform as he performed mandatory safety checks, the National Transportation Safety Board's report said.

Surveillance video showed the operator performed the required safety procedure before leaving the Powell station, but he did not see the woman struggling with the railcar doors, according to the report. She was 611 feet away from the operator.

Amy Adams, 41, of San Francisco boarded the train at 3:13 p.m. on September 13, 2021, with her dog.

Adams had leashed her dog to her backpack and boarded the ninth car of a Dublin-bound train and stepped out of the car as the doors were closing. The dog remained inside the train and she tried to free herself from the leash but was unsuccessful as the train left the station, the report said.

The leash was too small to be detected by safety mechanisms that monitor if objects are blocking doors, the report said.

An autopsy she found that died from "multiple blunt force injuries" and concluded it was accidental.

BART has completed a project to upgrade the lighting in the Powell station. 

Toxicology results concluded it was likely that the woman was "experiencing at least some impairing effects of substance use at the time of the accident." However, NTSB found no clear evidence that impairment played a role in her death.

The train operator said it was a normal busy day at the station and the yellow strip appeared to be cleared of passengers. The train's external "trouble lights" were not on when he departed the station.

The train operator was cleared of any drugs or alcohol, results showed.