The debt laden and horrifically inefficient MTA, who has spent the better part of the last several months petitioning for bailout money amidst a historic collapse in riders, now has another problem on its hands after a Manhattan subway train derailed Sunday morning.
The wreck was blamed on a "maniacal, laughing vandal" who reportedly tossed metal plates onto the tracks, according to The Daily News.
The plates, called "D plates" were placed about 50 feet into 14th St. station. They are usually used to secure tracks to the roadbed and police say the ones that were thrown onto the tracks had been left behind by MTA workers. Three passengers were injured as a result of the derailment. 135 passengers were evacuated and the wreck tripped a breaker on the uptown express A train tracks between Canal and 34th Sts., leaving a second train without power. 125 people were on board and needed to be saved by a rescue train.
30 year old Demetrius Harvard reportedly tossed the plates onto the tracks before a bystander jumped onto the roadbed to try and clear them off the tracks before a train pulled in. Harvard then throw more of them onto the tracks as the train pulled further into the station.
The train's first two wheel sets were then thrown from the tracks causing the front car to slam into station pillars. Frank Jezycki, acting senior vice president of subways at NYC Transit, said that "hundreds of feet" of rail was damaged or destroyed.
MTA chief safety officer Pat Warren said: “We’ve ruled out that this was any malfunction of our equipment or any inappropriate action of our crews.”
Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano stated: “This was an all-hands on deck emergency with transit workers from multiple divisions responding to assist riders and then begin repairing the extensive damage. It’s a stark reminder that the MTA can’t cut its frontline workers even if the federal government fails to provide funding in a COVID relief package.”
Harvard was seen laughing after the train derailed, but Good Samaritans chased him down and held him at the station until the NYPD arrived. He was brought to NYPD Transit District headquarters at the Canal St. station and was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespassing.
It is being called one of New York's "most catastrophic train derailments in years". Harvard also has an "extensive criminal history" according to The Daily News - which means Mayor De Blasio will likely have him released immediately and cleared of all charges.