Death by Misadventure: 210 Dumb Ways to Die
Death by Misadventure is a collection of true and unusual accidental deaths by the Story Consultant to the hit show, 1000 Ways to Die. You will find the real details behind some of your favourite televised pieces plus many more items that did not make it to air. There are no urban legends here, only documented dumb deaths. Published sources and a select bibliography are included. Cover photo: Jessica O'Neil @ Vancouver Police Museum
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143. Gerald Albury was a friend of mine. Jerry was a wonderful fellow, former California Highway Patrolman, USPS Letter Carrier and finally a BART Train Operator- he also served in the military reserves.
You say his death was inexplicable. You may be partially correct. He was far from stupid, I believe he was likely tired, just not thinking, and made a fatal error.
In those days, when a BART Train Operator was leaving an empty or operatorless trainl they would have to open one of the elevator like entry door that all patrons use, via a key operated barrel lock momentary switch mounted at about knee-level on a short/wall armrest just inside the door.
Once the switch was activated, the door would short cycle without much of a pause, if any at all.
due to the location and operation of this switch, It was a common practice for operator to put their back toward the door to be opened, hit the switch and back out of the train. They often had items in their hands at it was the end of their workday.
If one tried to do it facing the door, it was really awkward, so most people did it facing backwards.
At the time, there was no safety lockout feature for the switch- if one was about to exit out the door onto a platform at door level, fall five feet to a trackway, or sixty feet to a street from and elevated trackway.
Regrettably, Jerry did not pay attention and fell from an elevated track to a street and died. Had he exited on the other side of the train that eve, he would have been on a station platform and safe.
Jerry was a great guy. and a good friend. I felt compelled to defend his
honor and intelligence. We all make mistakes.
You are missed Jerry Albury.
From the author to the reviewer who reported knowing one of the story subjects: I am sorry for the loss of your friend. It is always a tragedy when young people lose their lives. I think it is doubly tragic for the person's friends and family when the loss occurs as a result of avoidable circumstances and unnecessary risk taking. That is the point of my book.
Unlike other books in this genre, my collection is based on published accounts, not rumours or urban legends. All references are provided.
I tried to strike the balance between entertaining and respectful retelling of stories that fascinate and frighten us. My readers are mostly young men, the same group that are over represented among the stories.
It truly is my sincere hope that the book causes at least one young man to think twice before placing himself in mortal danger for no good reason.