NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn mother is suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for $50 million in damages over the death of her son who was struck and killed by a subway train last November.

Marva Nelson said the MTA was negligent by failing to do more to search for her 24-year-old son, Briant Rowe, after a toll booth clerk saw him wander into the subway tunnel on Nov. 19.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

“It feels as if a part of my heart went with him, a part of it is ripped out,” Nelson said. “When I wake up, it seems as if I’m just reliving this whole thing over and over again.”

The clerk apparently called for the tunnel to be closed and attorney Roger Archibald said the MTA deployed an empty subway car to conduct a search.

The family claims the search lasted about 40 minutes and when Rowe couldn’t be found, the tunnel was reopened.

An hour after the search turned up empty, Rowe was struck and killed by a northbound No. 5 train on its way to the Newkirk Avenue Station.

(credit: Handout)

Archibald said the MTA should’ve shut down the track and sent searchers out on foot.

An MTA spokesman would not comment on search protocol.

Sound off in our comments section below…

Comments (31)
  1. Larry Schwarz says:

    While this is tragic,I do not believe her cause of action will succeed.She has to prove The MTA was negligent and it was that negligence that led to this young mans death.My hear goes out to her along with my condolonces,but if this goes to Court she will probably loose.There is always a chance The MTA will try to settle rather then spend money on litigation.

  2. Jig Boo says:

    sprog, fifty million?

  3. Leon Degrelle says:

    OK…..this thing decided to knuckledrag into a darn tunnel, a busy subway tunnel of all thing, because he didn’t want to pay the fare. How stupid is that for this matter? 24 is already old enough to know different, but I guess that some minor inconvenient percentage of the population, are too stupid to take responsibility for their own actions. And what was more inconvenient, was that the subway was shut down to decontaminate the body parts of this idiot. People have to work and pay taxes to feed some lazy welfare momma’s like this sow that’s suing, can get her ‘gubmint check’ and she wants the MTA to pay for her son’s own stupidity. This doesn’t make sense.

  4. Tank says:

    The woman should be sued for breeding ignorant subhuman trash.

    1. Border Reiver says:

      I know I enjoy a nice stroll through the subways. I also like walking down the motorway of an afternoon.

  5. LMFAO says:

    Love the Robert Moses input.

  6. Bullett says:

    I think the mother should be sued for not doing her part of rearing her child correctly.

  7. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx says:

    Clearly nature has a way of cleaning the gene pool.Dope you made people late for work while they picked yu body parts up..

    1. joy says:

      you are MEAN HEARTLESS an just the BIGGEST ASSHOLE you might fall off the train tracks or why dont you stand in front a oil truck boom!!!!!!!!!

      1. Jerry Randaccio says:

        If he did stand in front of an oil truck it would be 100% his fault…just like its 100% this guy’s fault for standing in front of a train…

        Heartless? Its heartless for the mother to try and blame someone else for her lack of ability to raise a son who wasnt a complete idiot. Its also heartless to demand taxpayers’ hard-earned money as compensation for her and her son’s own stupidity..

  8. Robert Moses says:

    This sort of thing is part of why ALL public transportation should be BANNED.

  9. The Realist says:

    How much service will have to be cut – and in which neighborhood(s) – to cover her $50M?

  10. NY Communist says:

    I am suing God tonight for bringing the man to Earth.

  11. j says:

    wait wait what was he doing on the tracks in the first place was he sopose to be there i am sorry the lost i am not blaming her to much but the lawyer is a big fool to file the suit in the first place the lady i s out of her mind right and that fool is making a fool out of her

  12. Nick says:

    So the trains should stop running just because she raised an idiot? We should sue her for the emotional stress caused on our tax bill.

  13. White Plains Guy says:

    What’s most troubling about this lawsuit against the deep pockets city [and ultimately city tax payers] is that it puts 0% personal liability/responsibility on behalf of the deceased and 100% on behalf of the city. Its like a person decides to throw themselves off a 50-story bldg and it isn’t the person’s fault for throwing themselves off, its the bldg owner’s fault for building a bldg there.

    1. God Bless says:

      Dont you think that his penalty was losing his life? Is that not enough?

      The MTA is not being sued bc he was in the tracks. They are being sued bc minutes after opening the tracks from a mere 40 min search he was hit by a train. Regardless of why he was there, it was in the MTA’s capacity to save his life. They did not do all they could at all.

      The difference between jumping off a building and being hit by a train is that someone controls a train and having the full knowledge that you are in the tracks, can halt said train and find you.

      1. The Realist says:

        It’s HIS OWN FAULT for being on the tracks.

        1. God Bless says:

          So then if any other person, regardless of age or mental capacity finds themselves in the tracks they shouldn’t be searched for?

          If Mr. Rowe looked differently or was younger/older or at a different stop where the neighborhood was wealthier would we be having the same conversation with the same lack of empathy?

          I think you should ask yourself how much responsibility we give to one person versus someone else and whether that is the same fault we could give to everyone.

          A better procedure should be in place to prevent people from losing their lives, regardless of WHY they are in the tracks. What if he was being chased? What is he was threatened? What is he had mental issues?

          What we DO KNOW is that MTA could do a better job in having a system that allows them to prevent the death of an innocent person.

          Im willing to be late to work if that means someone doesn’t die.

          Please also keep in mind that Nov 19 was a Saturday. So the majority of us were in our beds anyways. Not thinking about missing the train to get to work. We could have given a bit more time to save a young man’s life.

          1. Meme Meyagi says:

            Liberalis is a mental disorder….

          2. Arnie says:

            I was not in bed at 11am on a Saturday…sorry.

            But to your argument, you are wrong…The MTA searched the tunnel for 40 minutes, which was probably the length of the remaining track..he could’ve hidden somewhere in the tunnel when they came by and for all they after 40 minutes of searching, they assumed he was no longer in the tunnel and got out. They didn’t know he was still there and we can’t shut down the train for hours on the probability that he was not there. Use your logic if you can get past that liberal mentality keeping you back!

          3. Jerry Randaccio says:

            So how long should they have searched? An hour? 2 hours? 3 hours? 24 hours? A week? When does it end? The city/MTA is not always responsible for people being stupid.

            Maybe they shouldve just shut down the entire system…why not? To save a young (moron’s) life, they shouldve just stopped every train in the whole system. right?

            The mother should just off herself if she cant deal with this. It is her fault entirely that she raised such a stupid son.

      2. Russ Venlos says:

        Hold on….You and the mother want people to search the tunnel on foot. In a tunnel with a third rail that has how much electricity running through it?

        I would not go to search.

        I don’t care what the person looks like. He was trespassing, and got Him self killed. The City did more then it needed to do.

  14. Angela Gaeth says:

    most people don’t walk in tunnels – what do you expect

  15. JJ says:

    First, I am somewhat familiar with the Newkirk Av station as I sometimes take the 2/5 train to got to Target near there. The booth is on platform level toward the middle of the station, but tucked away. The clerk could only see Rowe enter the tunnel if he/ she came out of the booth (which I rarely see them do/ think they need special permission for that) unless it was on camera.

    Second; If he was wearing dark clothes, it would be next to impossible to find him in a dark subway tunnel. Regardless, 40 minutes is a while to search. Can’t do it all day. Especially if it happened during rush hour. No reason to inconvenience potentially thousands of people because of one idiot (and I don’t care if he was disabled, intoxicated, whatever…STILL AN IDIOT).

    As for the lawsuit; how much money has the mother received in public assistance over the years? Think a good chunk of this should be deducted from any money awarded. And without saying: $50 mil is a bit too much, even if the MTA is found liable. Hopefully no jury member will have dollar signs tattooed to their eyelids.

    1. JJ says:

      Why am I an idiot? Just stating some facts and valid opinions. And no need for name calling or bringing my family members into it. Please calm down a bit.

    2. You Can't Be Serious says:

      I think you may want to review your comments. To assume his mother is receiving public assistance is interesting. What makes you think she’s receiving public assistance? The color of her skin? Her accent?

      In addition, for you to say that regardless of his mental state he was an idiot says more about you than him. Who wastes letters calling a dead man an idiot? Especially when his family, who did nothing wrong, has to read your words? Would you want someone to say these things about you?

      The common thread on these comments suggest that everyone is so concerned with keeping tabs on the MTAs pocketbooks. I wonder if they cared as much as you do when they didnt even bother to successfully search for someone, who they KNEW was in the tracks, and would probably end up dead if the trains started running again.

      There is clear negligence here. A flashlight and an organized search could have found him. Especially when his body was found not too far away from the stop. Was his life only worth 40 minutes of poor search ? I do not think so.

      As for the 50 Million, his family will probably not get all that. It makes sense to ask for more than you actually want. To add, if they asked for a smaller amount (whatever makes this peanut gallery comfortable) do you think that ping would force the MTA to change its standards? Asking for a large amount of money presses the importance of better search methods in the future and might just save a life.

      1. Maleek says:

        You are obviously a dope……

      2. Russ Venlos says:

        And if someone gets electrocuted looking for him, (remember the third rail?) Who does his family get to sue?

      3. I'm Serious! says:

        “There is clear negligence here.” You are right about that. The boy was negligent and went in to a subway tunnel.

      4. Jerry Randaccio says:

        Wow…I wish it was you in that tunnel…. You have about the same intelligence level it would take to walk in front of a train.

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