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Train derails at Manhattan subway station; man arrested: officials

subway train derailment manhattan
subway train derailment
subway train derails manhattan
Posted at 9:05 AM, Sep 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 08:31:12-04

CHELSEA, Manhattan — Service was fully restored by rush hour Monday morning after a train derailed at a subway station in Manhattan Sunday, snarling service on several lines, officials said.

First responders were called to the Eighth Avenue-14th Street station in Chelsea just after 8:15 a.m., according to the FDNY.

Interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg said a northbound A train struck debris on the tracks as it was pulling into the station, causing the wheels on the front car to derail.

The train then scraped four columns that separate northbound and southbound tracks, Feinberg said.

Click here for real-time updates on subway service changes

A 30-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning, police said. He was arrested Sunday night.

Demetrius Harvard, 30, of the Bronx, is charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespassing, police said.

Police said Harvard threw the debris onto the track, according to an NYPD spokesman. That debris was later identified as a metal tie plate or D plate.

According to the NYPD, Harvard has 12 past arrests dating back to 2012, including criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct and menacing with a metal pipe.

Just weeks ago on Sept. 5, police said he allegedly threw a metal barricade through an MTA bus window in Chelsea, near Eighth Avenue and West 22nd Street.

Equipment malfunction and human error on the part of the train’s crew have were ruled out of the investigation as the cause of the derailment, MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren said.

Warren called the crew "heroic" for stopping the train.

Photos from the scene show damage to the front of the train, where it appears to have struck several beams in the station.

PHOTOS: Click here for images of the derailment and damage

One person was evaluated at the scene for a minor injury, fire officials said. An MTA official later said the agency was not aware of anyone who was injured in the incident.

All 135 passengers were safely removed from the train, according to MTA officials, and the power was shut off on all four tracks serving the station.

As a result of the power loss, a northbound A train with 125 people on board was stuck in the tunnel near 34th Street, officials said. All of those passengers were also safely evacuated from the train by MTA workers.

There were extensive delays and service changes on the A, C, D, E, and F lines.

Click here for real-time updates on subway service changes

Frank Jezycki, NYC Transit’s senior vice president of subways, had said Sunday they hoped to have service fully restored by Monday morning before rush hour, warning there was "a lot of work ahead."

Later Sunday night, the MTA said they were on target to meet that goal.

Jezycki said the debris caused four wheels on the front car to derail, which led to significant damage.

Once the NYPD completes its investigation at the station, MTA crews will rerail the train and pull it out of the station using a diesel train. At which point, the MTA can begin to more closely assess the damage and begin repairs.

Jezycki said repairs need to be made to several hundred feet of track, track components and at least four steel columns in order for the station to reopen and regular service to resume.

“New York City Transit personnel will work around the clock to rerail the incident train, inspect several hundred feet of track, columns and third rail for damage and make necessary repairs, with the goal of restoring full service as soon as possible," Feinberg said. “I want to thank the NYC Transit workforce for their incredible dedication, ongoing hard work and perseverance during this incident, and our customers for their patience.”

Click here for real-time updates on subway service changes