Man Dies After Getting Caught by Subway Doors in New York City

February 17, 2016 Updated: February 17, 2016

A man has died after getting caught by subway doors of the F train in Queens, New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and police said.

The man, identified later as 51-year-old Edward Leonard, was trying to get onto the train as its doors were closing and was caught in them, police told ABC7.

He got dragged by the train car. The driver [of the train] was not aware he was stuck.

The incident took place at around 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 14, at the Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens station, an MTA spokesman told WPIX TV. He was trying to board a southbound F train when he got stuck and was dragged by the train as it was pulling out of the station.

Leonard was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the cause was an apparent head trauma.

“He got dragged by the train car,” witness Bernice Maitland, 61, told the New York Post. “The driver [of the train] was not aware he was stuck,” she said, adding that he was dragged around 60 feet.

She said he ended up battered and bloodied and missing a shoe. 

Kew Gardens – Union Turnpike station (Harrison Leong via Wikimedia Commons)
Kew Gardens – Union Turnpike station (Harrison Leong via Wikimedia Commons)

“I was frantic. I was crying,” Maitland told the paper. “The man was still breathing as I saw him on the platform.”

The MTA hasn’t released further details on the incident, but ABC7 said that a piece of Leonard’s clothing might have been stuck in the car doors.

The Post reported Leonard worked as a bartender at Cambria Hotel in Chelsea. 

Officials said the man appeared intoxicated, ABC7 reported. The Post, citing a source, also reported he also might have been under the influence, but some of his coworkers said he was taking medication for back pain.

The MTA stated that an investigation is ongoing.

FDNY officials told DNAInfo it took approximately 9 minutes for paramedics to arrive on the scene, which is about the citywide average time.

“I was so shaken I could barely touch my phone,”said Maitland. “I never want to see anything like that again.”

According to New York Magazine, it’s not the first time someone died after getting caught in a subway train door. In 2012, 38-year-old Anita Gebode died after she boarded a 3 train at the 135th Street station after getting her foot caught between the train and the platform. There have been a few near-deaths, with one happening in 2011 and one in 2000.


Top photo credit:  JoesphBarbaro via Wikimedia Commons