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She loved her cell phone...too much

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
Subway Train Kills Queens Woman Picking Up Cellphone

Published: February 11, 2004

19-year-old woman whose cellphone dropped onto the tracks in a Queens subway station was killed yesterday when she climbed down from the platform to retrieve the phone and was crushed by an oncoming train.

The police said Lina Villegas of 54-23 83rd Street in Elmhurst, Queens, was struck by a Manhattan-bound V train in the Grand Avenue-Newtown Station in Elmhurst. She was declared dead on the scene shortly after she was struck about 2 p.m.

Transit officials said the death underscored the dangers of going onto the tracks to retrieve objects. It could not be determined last night whether the woman saw the oncoming train or tried to flee. "While the instinct may be very strong to climb down when you drop something on the track, obviously don't do it,'' said Deirdre Parker, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit.

She said the accident at the Grand Avenue station was the first case the transit agency knew of where someone was injured retrieving a cellphone on the tracks.

At the apartment Ms. Villegas shared with her mother and family friends on the top floor of a three-story building in Elmhurst, Angie Redondo, a close friend, said she was shocked by Ms. Villegas's death.

"I still can't believe the story,'' she said. "I don't believe its true."

She said Ms. Villegas moved to Queens three years ago, and graduated from high school last year. Ms. Villegas shared the apartment with her mother, a 45-year-old manicurist who had moved from Colombia to Queens six years ago.

A bright, active young woman, Ms. Villegas worked in a Manhattan perfume store, and hoped to attend college and become an architect, Ms. Redondo said.

"She is a very nice girl, very happy, very active and she loves to dance," Ms. Redondo said. As she spoke, Ms. Villegas's mother, Nory Peragos, who works in Corona, sat sobbing on a couch. About 10 family friends milled about the apartment, most of whom were also in tears.

Ms. Peragos speaks little English, Ms. Redondo said. She said Ms. Villegas's father and a 9-year-old brother had remained in Colombia but had planned to move to Queens.

Yesterday, when she waited for a Manhattan-bound subway, Ms. Villegas planned to run several errands before returning to Queens and meeting her mother in Corona, according to Ms. Redondo.

The accident caused transit officials to divert trains on the V line to the express track for an hour and 40 minutes.

Transit officials say there are many dangers of going down to the tracks. Besides the relatively remote chance of being hit by a train, there is the risk of injury simply climbing down a stark subway platform on to unfamiliar terrain. There is also the threat of the third rail, the deadly steel column that conducts 600 volts of electricity, enough to power subway trains and to electrocute anyone who touches the rail.

Ms. Parker said subway employees are instructed, and passengers are reminded by public service advertisements in the trains, to avoid walking on tracks at all times. The only exception is in emergencies, when subway conductors, fire personnel or other authorities supervise the evacuation of subway cars, often when trains are not running.

There have been several other fatalities on the subway tracks over the last year, most notably two incidents of "subway surfing.'' In November, two merchant marines, one 21, and one 22, were fatally injured while riding atop a train in the Bronx. And in October, a 14-year-old from Harlem trying to impress his friends by climbing on a moving subway train in Manhattan was killed when he hit a steel girder and fell to the tracks.

Yesterday's death came less than four months after service on Metro-North's Harlem Line out of Grand Central Terminal was severely disrupted because a Bronx man dropped his cellphone in the toilet of a moving train, then tried to retrieve it, getting his arm stuck from hand to elbow in the train's stainless steel commode.

Firefighters had to use the jaws of life to free the man's arm, and the resulting disruption caused lengthy delays on Metro-North as trains were rerouted.

An early 2004 Darwin candidate.
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room
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TRIBE Member
Originally posted by stir-fry
"Let me put you on hold.. I lost my train of thought"

LOL. Stuffin, you're like the new Conan or something.

PS: You're all going to hell. :p
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