The R train operator who witnessed a man jump to his death during morning rush hour in Brooklyn on Monday was so distraught by the experience that he fled the scene on the tracks, according to the NYPD. He was apprehended after a brief foot chase along the trackbed and handcuffed.
"He took off running," an NYPD source told us.
The operator, who the Daily News identified as 51-year-old Michael Catalano, was eventually taken to Lutheran Medical Center for a psychological examination, and released without charges. He's reportedly been employed by the MTA since 1993.
The FDNY responded to the 77th Street station in Bay Ridge at 9:37 a.m. on Monday, and pronounced the victim dead on arrival, according to a spokesman. R train service was suspended for several hours between 36th Street and 95th Street in both directions.
Pete Donohue, spokesman for the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said Monday that Catalano would have been positioned in the very front of the train when the victim allegedly jumped, with a clear view.
"You can't exaggerate the horror and emotional trauma that an operator experiences when someone jumps in front of his or her train to commit suicide," Donohue told DNAInfo. "They often require years of therapy and counseling."
The Daily News managed to reach Catalano's family by phone, but his mother declined to connect them through to her son. "We just want him to rest," she said.