NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The MTA is launching an investigation after another piece of debris fell from elevated subway tracks.
This time it smashed into the windshield of a livery cab in Queens, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports.
“All you heard was a huge thing just go, like, boom,” witness Anthony Olivencia said.
Surveillance video shows a 15-pound chunk of metal falling on the back of a livery cab, which was pulled over on Liberty Avenue by 100th Street on Tuesday afternoon. The cab was waiting for Olivencia.
“I went back to doublecheck the address. That was the only reason why I walked away from the cab,” he said. “I just literally left that spot 15 seconds before it happened.”
The back windshield was completely shattered. The driver was not injured.
In Spanish, she told CBS2, “I heard a loud sound in the back of my car. It scared me and when I looked, the glass was broken.”
The MTA says the metal piece, known as a D-wedge, came loose from the elevated subway tracks and broke the protective basket underneath – in place specifically to catch falling debris.
“The basket was half secured. It was hanging halfway off. Obviously it secures on all four sides. The basket was found to be hanging at an angle,” MTA President Andy Byford said.
This is just the latest in more than a dozen similar incidents in Queens this year alone.
Last week in Long Island City, a rusty bolt shattered a man’s sunroof. The MTA told CBS2 the bolt also slipped through its safeguard basket.
“Items sometimes become loose because of vibration, but at the end of the day, one piece of debris falling off the overhead is one piece too many,” Byford said.
Byord says over the next week, inspectors will hand-check 325,000 baskets across the MTA’s 60 miles of elevated tracks.
The agency also vows to speed up deployment of about a mile and a half of netting below elevated lines.
“I will leave nothing unexamined. We will get to the bottom of this. We will find a way of better securing the equipment to track level,” Byford said.
But for now, Olivencia says, “Every time the train passes now, I just make sure I’m not under it.”
Byford also says tracks are regularly checked every two days, but after this seven-day blitz, he will re-evaluate any necessary changes to the elevated lines or to the routine inspections themselves.