Well, there's nothing like blaming the victim. The NY State Public Transportation Safety Board says that the August death of Natalie Smead, who fell into a gap at the Woodside LIRR station, was her own fault. The board issued a report saying that 19 year old Smead had been drinking with friends earlier and lost her balance when she fell in the 8-inch gap. When her cousin tried to help her, apparently Smead "pulled away" and crawled under another platform, where she was hit by a different train.
The board's commissioner Thomas Madison Jr. said, "This was certainly a tragic and terrible accident and our heartfelt condolences go out to Ms. Smead's family ... but there's also a level of personal responsibility when you ride public transportation." Well, if it's not a problem at LIRR, why are other gaps being mended?
The Smead family's lawyer Robert Sullivan said the report was a "cover up" and added, "To put in, as the cause, alcohol and nothing else, is unbelievable." He said the train doors closed on Smead twice, which could have jostled her and that the MTA was basically "investigating itself. Also interesting: When Newsday measured platform gaps, they found instances of 9-, 10-, and 11-inch spaces.
The Smeads are suing the LIRR for $5 million. Smead's death has also sparked other people who have fallen into LIRR platform gaps to sue the agency.