NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The MTA has launched an investigation after subway debris smashed a driver’s windshield Thursday in Queens, narrowly missing the man.
There are certainly a lot of questions and not many answers as the MTA tries to figure out what caused the freak accident that came dangerously close to injuring livery driver Mahoob Lohdi.
It was like a huge, heavy dagger falling from the elevated 7 train and crashing into Lohdi’s car below.
“I was shocked,” said Transit Authority chief Andy Byford. “This should not have happened.”
Byford is right – this freak accident shouldn’t have happened, and could have been prevented, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
Street view pictures from Google Maps show the beam that fell from the elevated 7 train platform near 65th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside was dangling in July 2018, and even had yellow caution tape attached, as if someone knew it needed to be removed.
Kramer demanded answers from MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren.
“Can you tell us when the last time this specific place was inspected?” Kramer asked. “And can you tell us how often you do the inspections… on all the elevated tracks?”
“I can’t tell you at this moment because that’s part of the investigation: To find out when those inspections did occur, the structural inspections. The track inspections happen daily,” Warren said.
“One of the issues I’d like to get to the bottom of in this investigation is should we change our inspection methodology, because we’re inspecting down, looking at the track,” said Byford. “Should we now change that… to be looking up underneath just in case there’s something that shouldn’t be there.”
Officials say they intend to inspect every inch of elevated track in the city. That’s 188 miles in three boroughs.
Lohdi just thanks his stars he escaped injury.
“Yeah, I’m lucky, God has blessed me,” Lohdi said.
Transit advocates say you shouldn’t have to depend on luck to be safe.
“Luckily nobody died, but there was yet another illustration of the extent to which our infrastructure is crumbling,” said Daniel Coates of the Riders Alliance. “It’s indicative of a larger problem, one that I just mentioned that we are in the throes of trying to fix.”
“The driver could have been impaled… it’s a very dangerous situation,” said St. Sen. Jessica Ramos.
Officials say the inspections will take a long time, but they will focus on the 7 train first.
Byfrod said the investigation into the accident will focus on the work done by several Transit Authority departments, including the subway unit and capital program management team.