William B., a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist with the Oakland Tribune, was walking across the street when he accidently stepped into the path of a Light Rail Vehicle (LRV). The LRV struck William and threw him into a light pole, inflicting grevious head injuries. Despite surgeries, he fell into a coma and unfortunately succumbed to this injuries weeks later.
Decendent’s widow, Daryl B., filed for wrongful death against the city and county of San Francisco, San Francisco Municipal Railway, and the LRV operator. All parties agreed that even though the deceased had crossed against a red light and a flashing “train coming” signal, the driver of the LRV was going at an unsafe speed and failed to sound his gong, bell or horn at any time prior to the impact with William. Despite this, experts for both plaintiff and defendants determined that had the conductor sounded his warning systems as early as one second sooner, the collision could have been avoided. It was concluded that this failure was a violation of the San Francisco Municipal Railway Rules and Instructions Handbook and contributed to William’s death.
The lawsuit settled before trial for $900,000.