- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

A Rockville, Md. woman whose 13-year-old son had his arm caught in the door of a Metro subway car says the transit agency tried to blame the boy for the incident and has stuck her with a $500 medical bill.
Helen Galentine said her son, Daniel Domaruk, had a serious bruise last summer after his arm became trapped in a subway door on a Red Line train. She contacted Metro about the medical bill, but said employees did not call her back.
"At the very beginning, I was trying to do this and do that. I couldn't get anywhere, and those guys gave me the runaround," Mrs. Galentine said. "They were trying to say it was his fault. They don't seem to care."
After inquiries by The Washington Times were made to Metro on Monday about the accident, Mrs. Galentine was contacted by Metro's Risk Management Department and told they would work her claim.
"They finally gave me a call. They told me to send them the bills, and that they were not done looking at it, and they would look at [the hospital bill] and pay that," Mrs. Galentine said.
Mrs. Galentine contacted The Washington Times after the newspaper reported that Li J. Yu, 58, of Cheverly, became trapped in a subway-car door and was dragged down the platform at the Gallery Place station Jan. 9.
Initially, the transit agency would not pay Mrs. Yu's hospital bill, but after the report in The Times, Metro accepted responsibility for the accident because the door had a faulty circuit, and board members demanded that Metro pay her medical bills, which totaled about $1,300.
Ted Williams, Mrs. Yu's attorney, said yesterday that they have not reached a settlement with Metro.
Mrs. Yu was injured on one of Metro's newest subway cars, which have been plagued with door and propulsion problems since they were delivered more than a year ago. The new cars, called 5000-series cars, have been run only on the Green Line.
Fred Goodine, Metro's Safety Department director, said the doors on all the subway cars old and new are designed to prevent trapping someone. The doors are supposed to open if they are obstructed by anything wider than three-eighths of an inch.
Cheryl Johnson, a spokeswoman for the transit agency, said yesterday that the train's doors were never inspected to see whether they were defective.
Another woman, Ann Kranz of Leewood, Kan., said subway doors also closed on her when she boarded a train Feb. 16 about 11 a.m. at the Glenmont station along the Red Line. She said the doors slammed both of her shoulders and left bruises.
"The next day, I started to see the bruises," said Mrs. Kranz, 49, who was in town visiting her daughter. "I thought it was peculiar that the doors didn't pop back open."
She said she did not report the accident to Metro because she though it was minor until she read about Mrs. Yu's accident.
Metro records show that Mrs. Galentine reported the accident June 20 at the Rhode Island Avenue station about 3:25 p.m. Mrs. Galentine called an ambulance when they got to the Wheaton station, and Daniel was taken to Holy Cross Hospital.
Mrs. Galentine said she boarded the subway car before Daniel and did not hear the typical announcement that the doors were closing. She then heard her son screaming behind her.
"The door closed on the boy's arm. If the lady [outside the car] had not pried open the door, they would have dragged him like they did [Mrs. Yu]," Mrs. Galentine said. "It would not open. It clamped down on his arm."
She said that Daniel told her his arm was hurting and she first filed a report at the Rhode Island Avenue Metrorail Station. They got back on the train, and while they were on the way to Wheaton, Daniel's arm became numb and began to swell, so she called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.
The doctors X-rayed his right arm and said he could have a small fracture and a deep bruise. Mrs. Galentine said Daniel had to wear a splint for two weeks.
Mrs. Galentine said her son still complains of pains in his arm.
She said Metro should take responsibility when its equipment injures Metro customers.
"All I get are excuses," Mrs. Galentine said.


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