DART Train Separates Mom, Kids - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

DART Train Separates Mom, Kids



    DART Train Separates Mom, Kids
    A Wylie mother says the train took off after her children ran out at a stop.

    A Wylie mother said she was separated from her three children when the doors of a Dallas Area Rapid Transit train closed after her children ran out at a stop.

    Rina Anderson and two of her friends took rode the train during a weekend trip to the circus with their six children, ages 2 to 7.

    Anderson's three children ran out of the train when they reached their destination in downtown Dallas, the Pearl Street Station.

    "They -- excited -- go running down the stairs and at that point, the doors just shut," she said.

    DART Train Leaves Without Small Kids

    [DFW] DART Train Leaves Without Small Kids
    A Wylie mother says she and her three children were separated on a DART train.
    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010)

    She, her two friends and the three other children were still on the train, which then left the station.

    "My friend and I, we're freaking out," Anderson said. "We're trying to stay calm because we have the other kids, but we couldn't. I'm yelling hysterically."

    DART officials said the driver didn't know anything was wrong. Agency spokesman Mark Ball said that drivers usually look for a signal to see if all the doors are closed.

    "The operator is getting all the signals that the doors are closed, and that it's safe to proceed. That's what he did," he said. "But under the circumstances that occurred the last weekend, the complaint was that the door had closed, and they were separated. Actually, the safest location for everyone on board was the next location."

    Ball said that the operator heads to the next station once the train is in motion.

    "Up until that time, they can push buttons, they can be communicating with the operator, but apparently, none of that occurred," he said.

    Anderson said she pushed the "open" buttons, yelled, banged on the doors and even tried to kick the door open.

    "We were banging on everything," she said. "I'm banging on the walls, too, to the driver; 'You need to stop.'"

    She said other people inside and outside the train also tried to get the driver's attention.

    "The people inside the train were also yelling for him to stop," she said. "A woman actually ran down to where he was at and banged on the door, telling him, 'You need to stop. You just left the kids.'"

    Anderson and her friend ran back to the Pearl Street Station when the train stopped a few blocks away at the next stop, St. Paul Station.

    She said a woman on the train who got separated from her husband at the same station saw the commotion and called him to tell him to watch over the children. Anderson said she is grateful for the couple's help.

    But she also said she is done riding the train -- and may consult an attorney.

    "My kids could have ran in front of another train," she said. "They could have gotten probably kidnapped or worse."

    DART officials said they are investigating the incident and have spoken with Anderson. They said that while the incident is unfortunate, the system works well.

    "The reality is that train has a schedule it has to keep, but once the public learns how to use the system and they ride it regularly, the complaints go down," Ball said.

    NBC DFW's Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.