Subway Hero

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

wesley-autreyWesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work.

Nearby, Cameron Hollopeter,20, collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help. Cameron managed to get up, but then stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails.

The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared and in a split decision Mr. Autrey jumped onto the tracks.

Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, pressing him down in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time.

Five cars rolled overhead before the train stopped, the cars passing inches from his head. When the train finally stopped, Mr. Autrey ¬†yelled: “We’re O.K. down here, I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s O.K.” People on the platform broke out in applause.

Power was cut, and workers got them out. Mr. Hollopeter, a student at the New York Film Academy, was taken to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. The police said it appeared that Mr. Hollopeter had suffered a seizure.

Mr. Autrey refused medical help, because, he said, nothing was wrong. He did visit Mr. Hollopeter in the hospital before heading to his night shift. “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help,” Mr. Autrey said. “I did what I felt was right.”

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