ABC reports that an MTA worker died while on the job at 125th Street on the Lexington Avenue line early Tuesday morning after falling nine feet and hitting his head while doing debris pickup.
Transit Authority President Andy Byford said the 23-year-old victim, identified as St Clair Zaire Richards-Stephens, had been with the MTA just six months.
“Unfortunately, even though the emergency services worked really hard, they tried CPR, they really did try valiantly to save him, he unfortunately passed about an hour after that,” Byford said. “So obviously our first thoughts are with him.”
TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said the incident highlights the dedication of transit employees.
“This is a tragedy, not just for this young man and his family, but for the entire city,” he said in a statement. “While everyone else was asleep, this young man was working in a tunnel beneath Manhattan so others could get to work, or school, or wherever else they need to go to. We will be conducting an investigation to determine exactly what happened and assist the family in every way possible.”
Confounding the tragedy was that it created yet another transit nightmare for many commuters. Service on the 4/5/6 trains was suspended between 149th Street/Grand Concourse in the Bronx and 86th Street on the Upper East Side during a stretch of the morning rush, which had a ripple effect on other lines and in other boroughs.
Commuters were warned to “expect significant delays,” particularly on the W and Q lines and the 1/2/3.
Above ground at the stations, hundreds packed onto the sidewalk and at moments overflowed into the street as they waited for shuttle buses.
The MTA said they added 50 buses to help get commuters around during the shutdowns.
The Transit Authority said it wanted to wait for the results of the investigation before speculating on what caused the worker to fall.
“The track is divided here, you’ve got an upper and lower level,” Byford said. “At the moment I don’t really want to speculate. All we know is that the crew that was working with him heard a shout and saw him lying face down on the lower level.”