An emotionally disturbed man lying on the tracks near the 14th Street station in Manhattan prompted a series of subway delays Thursday morning in what one straphanger described as the most bizarre situation she's seen in more than a decade of riding the train.
Rider Casie Jordan said she was in the first car, right by a peephole window, when she noticed the man on the tracks.
"When we slammed on the breaks he was laying down," Jordan said. "Then, probably five minutes later, he got up and started walking toward the train."
"I've never seen anything like it in 15 years of riding the subway," she added.
Her video shows a man in a white T-shirt and white shorts walking erratically along the subway tracks. He appears to be disoriented and stepping gingerly, almost as if it were a game of "don't step on the cracks."
Jordan says after 10 minutes of the conductor yelling out to him, the man got up and proceeded to walk alongside the train car. She says he disappeared from sight after that and an announcement was made that police had taken him into custody. Jordan says her uptown trains was about 200 meters from the station.
The MTA said it turned off power to all tracks between Penn Station and Christopher Street after the man was seen trying to touch the electrified third rail and running along the tracks between stations. The agency says the NYPD took him into custody at 8:35 a.m. and power was restored four minutes later.
"We commend the train and police personnel who got this trespasser removed safely and thank our customers for their patience during the ordeal," the MTA said in a statement.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.
It created a problematic morning commute for thousands as the MTA was forced to hold trains while authorities investigated. Extensive delays were reported on the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines, along with station overcrowding, through the peak commute.
It wasn't a much better ride for subway riders in Brooklyn, where a truck accident forced a brief suspension of the B line in the borough and service changes on the Q line. That situation was resolved within about 20 minutes.