Witness Of Deadly DART Bus Accident Raises Questions

By Jack Fink, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A man who witnessed a tragic accident at a DART stop last March said a police report contains different information than what he told investigators.

“I’m sure my daughter never thought when she stepped out, that would be her last stop.”

But unfortunately for Pamela Short, it was.

Her daughter, 34-year-old Christine Nail, died last March due in part to injuries she suffered while getting off a DART bus at a stop along Samuell Blvd. in East Dallas.

“She was gone when I got there,” Short said.

According to a DART police report, Nail got off the bus and was on the curb when she lost her balance. She tried to grab onto the moving bus and fell to the ground, hitting her head.

The report also claims Nail was clear of the bus, before it started moving.

But now there are new questions about what really happened at this bus stop last March. One of the witnesses said what’s inside the DART police report is not what he told investigators.

Wayne Blackmon witnessed the accident last year, and has since moved to Mobile, Ala.

“She never let go of the bus. My friend and I saw the same thing and we’ll tell you again and again. She never let go of the bus – the bus is what made her fall,” Blackmon said.

He said Nail was walking off the bus backwards, and had put one foot down on the ground.

“Before this foot could even get settled, the bus driver is pulling off and turning her around like this. She falls between the bus wheel – the back two wheels and the curb and hit her head,” Blackmon said.

He said the bus driver drove off, and never stopped.

“Even after she fell, and now you have ten people hollering at him, stop, stop, there’s something going on … he just zoomed right on off,” he added.

The DART police report says the bus driver wasn’t aware of the situation. An autopsy found Nail’s death was an accident, caused in part by blunt trauma.

She suffered a seizure, then a heart attack after she arrived at the hospital. Her mother has filed a lawsuit against DART.

“They need more training for safety. These people getting on these buses, they’re putting their lives in the hands of that man driving that bus or a woman,” Short said.

A DART spokesman declined comment on the lawsuit.

From 2007 to 2010, DART officials said there have been 84 bus-pedestrian accidents. CBS 11 filed a Freedom of Information Act request for how many times drivers were cited in those cases. DART then sent a letter to the state attorney general’s office objecting to the request.

CBS 11 is awaiting a ruling.

  • Simon

    This is a very sad story. I am sorry for the mother’s loss. I am no stranger to the Dart buses. I used to ride them with my mother when I was a child to any part of the city. ONLY SOME bus drivers are respectful, careful and prepared for any accident. Today’s Dart bus drivers are not careful. They drive as if they were in their car almost as if one could say not driving the limit but speeding a bit. I had a friend who accidently hit a Dart bus on my street, and it was a hard hit but it wasn’t his fault or the driver. But the Dart committee tried to file a lawsuit against him, and how selfish of them and tha people inside the bus to even claim they got hurt when he is in a small car and they are protected in a huge bus. smh…

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  • Paul

    I watch Dart bus drivers all the time using their cell phones, tring to pick woman on the bus. Do busy doing things beside driving.

  • Karen

    Christy was my niece and this was a terrible tragedy for the family.My daughter and I did some investigating ourselves and DART was veryunaccomodating.It took us weeks to get a report from the DART police,since Dallas police weren`t called due to it being a Dart situation.They gave us the run around time after time but with oerserverance we finally got the report.However we also went and talked to the EMT`s that were called to the scene and the story they told us was COMPLETELY different than what the DART report said the EMT`s told them. We even tried to talk to the bus driver but he slammed the door in my daughters face and took off like lightning. If she hadn`t stepped back soon enough she would be another Dart statistic. Dart is crooked and hiding things about this accident. Please all pray that justice prevails in this case. I don`t even think they screen their drivers.I too have seen them talking on the phone while driving and that is very irresponsible when they have all those lives at stake that are riding the bus. I say Dart needs to take responsibility for my nieces death and I hope they have to pay out big bucks to her Mother who was devastated! Never did she imagine when Christy walked out that door that morning that she would never see her alive again. At 12 yrs. of age Christy had a huge brain tumor removed which made her blind in one eye.She used that bus to go everywhere and all the drivers knew she was slow getting off the bus due to her handicapp. I guess that day he was in a hurry. Who knows but I hope he can`t sleep at night!

  • josh

    Anybody who has spent anytime in downtown Dallas knows that traffic laws DO NOT apply to DART buses. They run red lights, enter intersections before the light turns green, change lanes abruptly without signalling, blatantly disregard speed limits (even in school zones!), and generally just act like bullies! These buses are all tracked very closely and I’m sure DART has access to all kinds of live data as to what their buses are doing at any given moment. Ever seen a useless DART cop do anything to rein in these buses? Ever seen a useless DART cop do anything except drive around? Me neither!

  • cathy henderson

    those bus driver-cut you off an drive way to fast!

  • Misty

    Christy was my Cousin, and I just want to say Thank you ALL for your kind words and speaking out against DART!! It is time we all do!!

  • FedUpTxn

    Long gone are the days when a man’s word was his honor, people helped one another, truth & integrity were respected, accepted, and expected. Now it’s all about money and cover-up. Don’t these buses also have survellience? If so, bet it was destroyed by now. If you don’t own the company, you are just a piece of meat to the police, the government, and businesses. The rich get richer, control the courts and more while the little guy gets stepped all over and even killed all for the almighty dollar. God has left the building…..

  • DUH

    So what? An accident is an accident

    • Misty

      Really? There was once this old saying, If you don’t have anything nice to say,..SHUT UP~! Remember there are family members to this girl that are reading this. If you have no compassion then just stay off here..Thank you and a blessed day DUH!!

    • Karen

      DUH!!! If you listened to the witness you would know that the driver took off before she had gotten off the bus! That wasn`t an accident,it was negligence! Show a little compassion .

  • Tom

    Perhaps the reason that DART officials failed to arrive at the same conclusion as some of the “witnesses” was that they had conflicting evidence and found the “witnesses” to be unreliable. Why is Channel 11 out to make the DART Police look bad? I mean in one newscast they allow this “story,” which, by the way isn’t news. It happened a year ago! Then in the same “newscast” they allow people to run down the Fort Worth Police. Of course that man’s freinds and family are upset and blaming the cop! Why allow them to vent on TV when the evidence says they are wrong! Why does Channel 11 want to make the cops look bad?

    • eric

      Tom i can tell your a cop or you are close to a cop,but cops have to obey the laws also.most cops break more laws than the average person on a day to day basis.

  • Karen

    Tom,have you ever dealt with the Dart police? Apparently not because if you had you sure as hell wouldn`t be taking up for them. I am not putting police down, as a matter of fact during this ordeall the Dallas police dept. were very nice and helpful.That is how we found out Dart cops were handling the case.They never contacted her family. And the only conflicting story is DARTS! Not reported by channel 11 was there are 2 other eye witnesses besides the ones who were mentioned that tell the exact same story.

  • Misty

    Tom, I must say I have to agree with the statement that you MUST be affiliated with DART in some manner, or you just failed to listen to the entire interview. There were SEVERAL witnesses to Chisty’s accident. Not just the one that they interviewed, and those witnesses had the same story. SO if unreliable is what you want to call it, then so be it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion I suppose. With that being said, I must say, that had you been the one that had to pick up Christy’s clothes from the hospital and seen that her pants were so torn and SHREDDED, you would have too, began to question if the story Dart gave us was the truth. I took Dart almost 3 weeks to release their report to me, and no one there could give me a reason as to WHY it took so long. I am going to give you an example of the conflicting stories between Dart and the Dallas EMT’s that arrived on the scene. In Darts police report, they stated that Christy had gotten irate with the paramedics on the scene and in the ambulance, that Christy was alert and answering question while being examined. Now, let me tell you what the paramedics told us and what was in the paramedics report..Christy was NOT coherent, that she laid there with a blank look in her eyes, that she was NOT talking to them and could not answer any questions they asked. So, Tom, what is your perception on this? Would you not feel the need to find out the truth? The need to know what happen to your child the last few minutes of her life? Also, Dart police report said that Christy had no visible signs of head trauma, that her pants had a tear down the side etc. WELL, again, conflict with Darts story and the medical examiners story who told us before the report was released that Christy had evidence of blunt trauma to her head…So again, what is your take on this?

    Tom, not everyone is out for revenge or a quick buck. Everything that gave channel 11 the reason to investigate was what was on paper. The conflicting stories that were in Darts police report..Channel 11 is not out to make Dart look bad, they are out to tell the truth. To find the truth. Because DART obviously had something to hide. And yes your right, it happened a year ago. It has take a YEAR to get any responses from Dart regarding this “accident”..Again, you must not have listened or read the entire story or else you would know that “THat MAN” was actually a Woman!!! And no one is blaming “the cop” we are, however, going to make sure that Dart is revealed and held responsible for their careless drivers actions. My Aunt did not VENT, I mean really I feel like I am speaking to a child here..You MUST have hearing problems or your eyesight isn’t so great…The Mother was far from venting, she just wants answers!! and truthful answers!! Do you think there would be a lawsuit if evidence were not collected that proved Darts report was not in all the truth…geezzzz…I am sorry your are angry about something, but to attack this woman who is heart broken and lost that her “handicapped” daughters life was taken due to carelessness, is just cowardly of you..I hope you never have to plan a funeral for one of your children due to a careless act on someone else’s part. It was pure hell and so emotional! Good day TOM!

    • Steve Bergan

      Tom are you Gary Thomas, the CEO of DART? This incident is just one of a long tradition at DART to disregard the safety of the public or its own employees. We all will be hearing more about the flagrant abuse of safety at DART in the coming weeks. There is no excuse for this and the DART officers who if found guilty of filing a false police report need to be tried just like anyone else only they are to be held to a higher standard and given a more severe punishment. Mr Thomas and the entire board of directors at DART and the elected officials of all DART member cities need to be held personally accountable for the actions of the organization as well they all should have to pay in these cases until there are no more cases or until there is no more DART. You do the math 35,000 daily riders and the cost of the light rail to build not including the cost of operating is over $45,000.00 per lineal foot of track. Dart needs to stop building rail and start spending money on safety.

    • Monica

      Go Misty!!!

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