For Many Reasons, Tracks Turn Deadly
[New York Times,
4 December 2005]
By RICHARD MORGAN
Ever since Leidschnudel Dreispul, described as a middleaged Bronx man, was struck dead at 137th Street and Broadway by Express Train 3051, on Nov. 3, 1904, hundreds of people have died on the subway tracks, victims of murder or suicide, accident or folly. Here are some memorable examples:
2005 -- Robbed of a gold chain, a crucifix and $50 he kept in a hidden pants pocket, Enrique Soriano, a 66-year-old man who was heading from Morrisania, the Bronx, to his job as a baggage handler at La Guardia Airport, was found dead May 31 about 3:30 a.m. He was killed on the No. 6 track at the elevated Whitlock Avenue station, widowing his 61-year-old wife, Rosa, above.
2005 -- Jean Eng, 53, died retrieving her purse on the uptown No. 6 track at 23rd Street and Park Avenue just after 10 a.m. on Feb. 2. She avoided being hit by the first car, but was pounded by the second and third before the train stopped.
2001 -- On Feb. 5, Thomas G. Nelford, a 23-year-old college dropout, jumped in front of a northbound No. 1 train at 181st Street after fatally slashing his girlfriend's throat in her Columbia University dorm room.
2000 -- On April 25, Chintamanie Vijantimala, a 34-year-old from East New York, became dizzy at the Grand Street station, fainted and fell to her death onto the tracks in front of a B train.
1999 -- On Jan. 3, Kendra Webdale, a 32-year-old aspiring writer who had moved from Buffalo three years earlier, was fatally pushed onto the N track at 23rd Street by Andrew Goldstein, a 29-year-old schizophrenic with a history of violence. Her death prompted the state to enact Kendra's Law, which gave judges more authority to order the mentally ill to comply with treatment.
1991 -- Jean Guerrier, a 14-year-old student at William Alexander Junior High in Park Slope, Brooklyn, was struck dead on Jan. 9 by an M train at the Union Street station. He and his friends had been playing a game called tracking, in which they seek to roam the tracks and tunnels without being hit by trains.
1991 -- On Jan. 8, a purse snatcher shoved his victim, Grace Cheng, 31, onto the C track at 96th Street and Central Park West. She was trapped between the track wall and a moving southbound train. One leg was almost severed, and an arm, a thigh and her pelvis were broken. She died in the hospital after two and a half hours of surgery. Her purse contained $1.
1988 -- Joseph Leslie, a 21-year-old unemployed man from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, lay down on Feb. 13 on the southbound No. 2 tracks between the Wall Street stop in Manhattan and the Clark Street stop in Brooklyn. His body, apparently dragged, was found in Brooklyn, 400 feet east of the Furman Street emergency exit.
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