Muni crash settlement would bring total cost of West Portal crash to nearly $7 million 

More than $925,000 in payouts related to Muni’s light-rail vehicle accident at the West Portal Station could be approved Tuesday, bringing the total costs from the 2009 accident to nearly $7 million.

In July 2009, Muni operator Henry Gray blacked out while manning a two-car L-Taraval train, causing the vehicle to smash in to the back of a stationary K-Ingleside, an accident that left 47 people injured.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, was subsequently hit with a slew of injury claims and lawsuits. Three cases are expected to be finalized Tuesday at the agency’s board of directors meeting.

The costliest of those cases is a $475,000 lawsuit filed by Kit Fong and Kwan Hop Ma. The other suits are a $320,000 payout to Karen and Warren Smith, and a $131,248 allocation to Tzu-Tien Huang. The three lawsuits add up to a total of $926,248.

With the latest payouts, the MTA will have shelled out $2.4 million related to injury claims and lawsuits from the accident, according to The City Attorney’s Office. The two vehicles involved in the accident suffered $4.5 million in damages. Collectively, the costs have totaled $6.9 million.

Gray, who had a dicey operating record before the crash, is no longer with the agency.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating the accident for the past 1 ½ years, but has yet to release its findings on the crash. Peter Knudson, spokesman for the NTSB, said a report will come out later this year.

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Will Reisman

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