NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 18-year-old male was struck and killed Tuesday evening by a northbound 2 train as he reportedly tried to cross the train tracks at the 79th Street station on the Upper West Side.
The accident happened at around 6:30 p.m. on the express tracks. Service was disrupted on the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 subway lines in Manhattan due to the police investigation.
Law enforcement sources told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon that the victim, who turned 18 on Tuesday, was with a group of friends. At least two jumped down and tried to cross — one made it, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
A witness said he begged the teens not to run across the tracks, but he could not stop them.
“They crossed the tracks the hard way, as opposed to coming upstairs and going around,” the witness told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. “They just ran across the tracks and got hit by the 2 train in the express tunnel.”
Police said the emergency brake on the Bronx-bound train was pulled after the operator saw one teen make it across the tracks from the uptown to the downtown side, then tried to stop the train for the second boy. But the operator could not stop in time.
Javier Corro was on the train, and had to be evacuated before he and dozens of other passengers even reached the station.
“The conductor said, ‘Oh my God!’ and the train just stopped – suddenly, it stopped,” Corro said.
The station was full of people at the time the victim was struck. Rincon reported that the 2 train does not stop at that station and runs express, meaning the victim was hit at a fast pace.
Other subway riders saw the teen’s body as they were being evacuated after spending more than the hour waiting for instructions from the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
“There’s a person under the train and I saw his hand and his arm by the wheels of the train,”one witness told Silverman.
The scene was one of horror afterward.
“A few people that were on the train said they saw kids crying on the platform and pointing underneath the train,” one passenger told Rincon.
Another passenger, Joe, was in the station at the time of the accident. He said police arrived quickly and got everyone out, and he couldn’t help thinking of the teen’s family when he saw the body under the train.
“It’s the call of a lifetime a parent either just got or is about to get, that no parent should ever get,” he said.
Many were visibly shaken by the teen’s death.
“It’s no good. It’s no good,” Corro said. “I’m sorry for that. It’s no good.”
“They said it was the worst thing they’ve ever seen,” one witness said. “They had to call 911.”
Why the teen chose to cross the tracks instead of taking the stairs up to the street level and then to the other side is not clear. But police said there is no criminality, pointing just to a tragic and deadly accident.
Police found a bottle of rum in the teen’s backpack.
Back on March 17, a man was struck after witnesses said he apparently jumped in front of an N train. That incident also happened at the Times Square station.
Earlier this year, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said city was on pace for 100 train-related deaths in 2013 — almost twice as many as last year.
Stringer had called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority inspector general to investigate and come up with possible solutions.
“These accidents have been happening too often and to too many New Yorkers. The time is now to search for answers,” he said.
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