BART train drags woman to death as she's tethered to dog

A BART passenger was dragged and killed by a train departing the Powell Street station as she was on the platform but her leashed dog remained inside the car, authorities said Tuesday.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner identified the woman as Amy Adams, 41, of San Francisco. 

Adams had a dog attached to her waist and had boarded a Dublin/Pleasanton-bound train Monday about 3:15 p.m. in San Francisco, but  "at the very last second, right as the doors were closing," she disembarked, leaving the dog inside the train, BART said. (BART did not specifically identify the woman by name.) 

Adams also appeared to be waving at someone, officials said.

BART officials said the train left with the dog inside and the woman was dragged and pulled onto the track. 

"This is a tragic loss of life, and we are following all safety protocols," said BART Spokesperson Alicia Trost.

The dog was not injured. 

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BART officials said there was was no visual indication the dog was a service animal, but that is under investigation.

BART allows leashed or harnessed service dogs on trains while all other animals, including non-service dogs, must be in carriers.

Heather Griffin, who works in a San Francisco dental office, was at the Powell station after the tragedy occurred. 

She saw a woman named Angela holding onto a German shepherd, which was wearing what appeared to be a service vest, but had no collar or tags, which she said belonged to the woman. Griffin said she wasn't aware of what the vest looked like or what branding it might have had on it. 

Angela  said she had a "really bad feeling," and so she ended bringing the dog to a BART station agent, who then returned it to Adams' roommate, Griffin recounted. Angela waited for that reunion to occur. 

"She was very shaken up," Griffin said. "Everyone was very sad." 

Griffin also said Angela told her that she saw a mother and daughter crying because they saw Adams get dragged by her backpack after banging on the doors of the moving train. 

BART officials said they have talked to witnesses and reviewed video of the incident.  Officials close to the investigation said they did not see that the woman's backpack got stuck. 

"It was a rough evening," Griffin said. "Aside from all the commute issues." 

The Powell Street station was closed for about two hours. 

Commuters were devastated by the experience. 

"She was very shaken up and everyone was very sad," said Griffin. "She met also a lady and a lady's daughter that said they saw the victim getting dragged by the train."

BART officials said that generally speaking, the trains run automatically unless the operator interrupts the door cycle. 

BART officials also said the standard procedure is for the operator to look back to make sure passengers are clear of the doors, but that Adams got off the train as the doors were closing, after the operator would have looked back.

BART’s chief safety officer is working with National Transportation Safety Board investigators and BART police. 

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Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez.