NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An “A” train jumped the tracks Sunday morning at Manhattan’s 14th Street station near Eighth Avenue.
Three riders were hurt, but each injury was described as minor.
It is believed a man placed something metal on the tracks at around 8:15 a.m. as the train, with 135 people on board, was approaching the station, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren said the incident appears to be “some form of vandalism.”
Police sources told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon on Sunday night the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Demetrius Harvard of the Bronx, is emotionally disturbed and homeless. He spent hours in police custody and was eventually charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespass.
A and F service is resuming in both directions between Manhattan and Brooklyn. We have moved an A train that struck debris at 14 St to a storage facility. Expect extensive delays as we restore full service.
C service remains suspended at this time.
All trains are bypassing 14 St. https://t.co/HQ3y0eEGNy pic.twitter.com/ShjDweG36i
— NYCT Subway. Wear a Mask. Fill out the Census. (@NYCTSubway) September 21, 2020
The train’s four front wheels derailed, and the surrounding damage is considered extensive, Carlin reported.
“We have significant damage to the train car, itself. We have significant damage to the track bed and track components, as well as some damage to the structural steel columns in between the tracks,” said Frank Jezycki, the MTA’s acting senior VP for subways.
Kevin Fucillo lives in Chelsea and caught the aftermath.
“There was a screech, kind of a thud, but it was enough to make people stop,” Fucillo said. “At that point, the fire alarms went off as smoke started coming up the stairs.”
Fucillo took a photo of the suspect, and said a bystander held him down until police arrived.
“They both got kind of stuck and caught in the turnstile at the same time, and the one gentleman kind of bear hugged the other guy and yelled at them. [The suspect] tried to get away, but he couldn’t.”
Third rail power went out briefly, stranding 125 riders on a different train near 34th Street. They were rescued without incident.
With the Eighth Avenue line stalled and delays elsewhere in the system, some riders, including Jesus Oquendo, who was heading to a catch a flight at John F. Kennedy Airport, scrambled and re-routed.
Platforms became crowded. Those waiting included Rhonda Walker, a tourist from Easton, Pa.
“We haven’t heard anything. We’re just sitting here patiently waiting, trying to get down to 14th Street,” Walker said.
As for the suspect, police sources said Harvard has been arrested 21 times for incidents that include burglary and disorderly conduct.
The MTA said some service was restored earlier Sunday, but crews will work overnight to finish their repairs.
All effected service should be restored by 5 a.m. Monday, officials added.
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