A San Francisco resident whose body had gotten trapped between a transit platform and train car clung to life for days after he was freed, but eventually died of his injuries on Friday, January 6.
Investigators say that Filipino-American Jeff De La Fuente accidentally fell off of a platform at the 24th Street Mission Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4 and became pinned at his waist by a train car.
Firefighters had to use specialized airbags to push the car away from his body and release him. De La Fuente remained conscious during his rescue and was transported to a local hospital where staff attempted to save his life.
He was 31 at the time of his death.
“The doctor said that he fought,” De La Fuente’s longtime girlfriend, Dorothy Mak, told local ABC station KGO-TV on Friday. “He fought to stay alive, he really did.”
She also said that he had been working to become a lawyer and was scheduled to take the LSAT in February.
Fuentes made a living as a mechanic in San Francisco’s Mission district. He also worked as a taxi driver, which allowed him to build friendships in the area, according to KGO-TV.
“I just want his family to know that he was loved by many,” said Mak, as reported by AsAm News.
On Friday night, friends formed a candlelight vigil at the BART station to honor De La Fuente’s memory.
A GoFundMe campaign originally set up to cover his hospital bills on Thursday, January 5 had already exceeded $25,000 in donations to pay for funerary expenses by Sunday, January 8. As requested by De La Fuente’s mother Alice, Mak is working with GoFundMe to refund any unused money. She has directed those who still wish to make a contribution in his honor to donate to the nonprofit Feeding America, which works to fight hunger throughout the United States.
De La Fuente was raised by a single mother in the Philippines before immigrating to the U.S. His mother plans to bury him in his country of birth after hosting a local funeral.
Comments left in his memory on an obituary page describe Fuente as humble, hard-working, and devoted to his girlfriend and family. (Eric Anthony Licas / AJPress)