Donations Sought For Funeral Expenses For Man Crushed To Death By BART Station Elevator

A local church is seeking donations to help the family of a man who was apparently crushed by an elevator at the Montgomery Street BART and Muni station pay for his funeral expenses.

David Thomas was found dead in an elevator shaft at the station on Sunday, March 10.

A person was reported stuck in the elevator that goes from the BART platform, through Muni and up to the concourse level near the Sansome and Sutter streets exit at 9:35 PM, BART police said.

A man, who was riding the elevator from the San Francisco Municipal Railway level to the concourse level, heard a crunching sound and a man yelping before the elevator stopped.

Responding fire crews found Thomas in the shaft and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Some personal items were found on the top of the elevator car, including bedding, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

State inspectors have already inspected the elevator with other inspections in the works. Investigations into the fatal accident continue, Trost said.

“We are obviously trying to connect the dots on how the person got up there,” Trost said in March.

She said there are only two ways to enter the elevator space: a ventilation shaft or an emergency hatch on the top of the car.

BART officials have confirmed that the ventilation shaft entry was secure, she said, and to get through the emergency hatch in the car someone would need a boost.

Trost said officials are looking at surveillance footage to figure out how the man got into the shaft space.

She said BART officials have never seen someone go into the elevator shaft at any station.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office identified the deceased man as Thomas, a 42 year old with no known address, on April 10, but at that time they were unable to find his next of kin.

Since then, however, the BAR has spoken with Thomas’s sister, Valerie Blackmore of Antioch, who says Thomas was was “a free spirit” who “loved San Francisco.”

Thomas leaves behind two young children, Blackmore tells the BAR.

Ken Jones, a member of BART’s Citizen Review Board and a deacon of City of Refuge United Church of Christ , tells the BAR that church members hope to raise $1,000 to help Thomas’s family pay for funeral expenses.

Donors may send checks to Alta Vista Cremation and Funeral Services, 4795 Blum Road, Pacheco, California, 94553. Alta Vista’s phone number is (925) 228-1500. They ask that you put “David Thomas” in the memo line.

Thomas’s family hopes to bury him on Saturday, April 27.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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