A subway motorman has been suspended without pay for disabling a signal on the tracks and splitting a switch in what he says was an effort to quickly get medical attention for a trainee who passed out while in control of a 5 train in the Bronx.
Quincy Calhouse said the trainee lost consciousness while they were near Dyre Avenue station one day in April. The train rolled through a red light signal, and the emergency brakes were activated as a safety measure.
Calhoun climbed off the train, went onto the tracks and used a device called a stop-arm to disable the signal, and then split a switch to allow the train to move forward to the Dyre Avenue station so that the trainee could be taken off the train and to the hospital, he said.
The trainee ended up being fine after a day in the hospital. But Calhoun learned this week he was being suspended without pay and said the MTA may demote him from his job at engineer.
The MTA said in a statement: "The train operator did not follow proper safety protocols by failing to contact the rail control center and obtain permission for this maneuver. The actions of this train operator could have actually caused a derailment which he acknowledged by attempting to operate a train through a closed switch point and jeopardize the safety of customers."
Calhoun told NBC 4 New York he could clearly see there were no trains in front or behind him, and that safety was his first concern.
"I know I did the right thing in getting this guy medical help. The thing is, I simply didn't follow protocol."
Calhoun admitted he's had some trouble at work in the past, including offenses for speeding -- one which injured a conductor who fell when the train was going too fast -- and that likely played a role in the MTA's judgment.
Still, he plans to fight the MTA decision with the help of his union.