Brooklyn Mother Sues MTA in Son's Subway Tunnel Death

Briant Rowe's family claims he was fatally hit by a train after MTA workers gave up on looking for him inside a subway tunnel

By Chris Glorioso
|  Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012  |  Updated 10:36 AM EDT
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Family speaks to News 4 about the incident.

Family speaks to News 4 about the incident.

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A Brooklyn mother is suing the Metropolitan Transit Authority for $50 million in damages after her son was killed by an oncoming train 200 feet inside a subway tunnel last November. 

Briant Rowe, 24, of East Flatbush, died Nov. 19 after a northbound 5 train ran him over on its way to the Newkirk Avenue subway platform. 

According to Rowe’s sister, a booth clerk saw Rowe wandering on the subway tracks and called for the subway tunnel to be closed for a search. When that search turned up no sign of Rowe, the tunnel was reopened.

Rowe was hit by the train at 7:33 a.m., according to the police report.

“He was not searched for long enough,” said Yunette Rowe.

Citing discussions with NYPD investigators, the Rowe family said the search lasted about 40 minutes and involved an out-of-service subway car that slowly rolled up and down the tracks.

“They said they took 40 minutes to search for him, but when somebody is dead, they take six hours to close down the station,” said Marva Nelson, Rowe’s mother. "I can’t get past that. That one hurts me so much."

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transit Authority declined to comment on the length and manner of the search because of pending litigation. 

Roger Archibald, an attorney representing the Rowe family, said any search for a person thought to be wandering on the subway tracks should include a canvass on foot inside the tunnel.  

“A more appropriate search under the circumstances from our point of view would have been to go on foot with flashlights and to shut the system down and find this individual,” Archibald said.

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