Man Hit By BK Train ‘Fights For His Life,’ Family Demands Answers

Family of Devon Smalls, who was hit by a Q train last week, are having attorneys look into whether there was any negligence by the MTA. (Courtesy of Devon Smalls' family, The Platta Law Firm, PLLC.)

BROOKLYN, NY — Family on a quest for answers about the moment a Q train hit Devon Smalls in Brooklyn last week also have another battle on their mind — the fight for his life.

Doctors for the 23-year-old, who is hooked up to a ventilator at a Brooklyn hospital, have told family they might soon discontinue medical care. Family and lawyers say they are determined to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“We want more time with our brother and we don’t want them to take him off— it hasn’t even been that long,” his sister Denise Torres Rivera said through tears on Monday. “I just miss my brother and I want him to come back.”

Rivera and lawyers hired by the family made the plea at a press conference Monday, nearly a week after Smalls — one of three people hit by a subway train last week — was struck at the Barclays Center station while reaching for his backpack.

He has been in critical condition since with two fractured legs and injuries to his head, ribs, right and hand, according to lawyers.

In the meantime, Smalls’ family has been left wondering exactly how the crash happened. Their lawyers plan to demand information from the MTA, NYPD and any footage of the crash to investigate whether negligence played a part.

“It is unheard of a young person, 23 years old, with his entire life in front of him has had such an accident on a train platform,” Slawomir Platta of The Platta Law Firm said Monday.

The speed of the train, whether it was properly signaled and whether staff saw Smalls before he was hit will be part of their investigation, the attorneys said.

“We do not know the answers to those questions, but we will be seeking them actively on behalf of the family,” Platta said. “…I want to believe this accident could have been avoided.”

A witness to the crash and police have told Patch that Smalls was reaching for his backpack near the edge of the platform when the northbound Q train hit the side of his body, sending him flying through the air and landing further down on the platform.

Straphangers rushed to press the emergency button, check if Smalls was breathing and call 911 in the wake of the incident. He was taken in an ambulance to the hospital.

Only 30 minutes before Smalls was hit, a man was fatally run over by a 7 train at Grand Central Station. A person was also hit by a train in Harlem on Wednesday.

“It is incomprehensible that in the same city, in the same hour, there were 2 subway passengers struck by an MTA train,” Platta said.

The incidents also came only a few days after 40-year-old Michelle Go was pushed in front of a Q train at the Times Square stop, causing her death.

Patch has reached out to the MTA for comment on Smalls’ family’s case.


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