2007_01_autrey.jpg

2007_01_dnsubgraphic.jpgThe story about Wesley Autrey jumping into the subway tracks yesterday afternoon to save a fellow straphanger at the 137th Street downtown 1 platform gets more amazing. It turns out that Autrey and two other women had helped 20 year old Cameron Hollopeter right before the fall - Hollopeter had a seizure and Autrey used a pen to keep his mouth open. They called for a station agent's help, but Hollopeter got up and stumbled into the tracks before help came.

Here's how Autrey, a Harlem construction worker who was on his way to drop off his two young daughters to be with their mother in Times Square, reacted, as mentioned in various interviews in amNew York, Post, Daily News, 1010WINS, WABC 7 and NY Times:

I had a split-second decision to make. Do I let the train run him over and hear my daughters screaming and see the blood? Or do I jump in?

...He landed between the track. Do I let the train run over this guy? I saw the ladies had my two daughters, so I hopped over on the tracks...

...I saw the two white lights and said "'Whoa, you ain't got no time.' I just grabbed him. I just dove on top of him and held him down because I knew there would be enough clearance for us...

...I was trying to pull him up, but his weight, he was fighting against me. He didn't know who I was. The only thing that popped into my mind was go into the gutter. So I dove in, I pinned him down, once the first car ran over us, then my thing was keep him still...

...He was fighting and pushing against me, so I laid on top of him. The train was probably 2 inches off my back...

The 1 train operator stopped the train when he saw someone the tracks. The men were trapped under a car (the Daily News says the second, the Times says fifth), and Hollopeter reportedly said to Autrey, "Am I dead? Am I dead?" Autrey told him, "No, we're under the train. 'You're touching me. You feel me touching you? We're very much alive."

Autrey's daughers were upset and screaming, so he yelled to the crowd on the platform, "Weíre O.K. down here, but Iíve got two daughters up there. Let them know their fatherís O.K.î

Hollopeter, a student at the NY Film Academy, had bumps and bruises and was treated at St. Luke's-Roosevelt. His grandfather Jeff Friedman said about Autry, "I'd like to buy him a drink. Maybe 100 drinks. All I can say on behalf of the entire family is thanks so much."

Autrey, who served in the Vietnam War, refused medical attention, just said, "I think I did the right thing. And it ain't about being a hero, it's just being able to be here and help the next person."

And what did the MTA's NYC Transit Authority think of this? Spokesman Charles Seaton told AMNY, "We are extremely grateful for the outcome of this incident. However, this is a reminder that customers should stand well back from the edge of the platform." True, but the guy just had a seizure!

Photographs of Autrey (check out how dirty his cap is from the tracks!) and his daughters, 6 year old Shuqui and 4 year old Syshe, by Juliet Papa of 1010WINS; graphic of the subway tracks from the Daily News