What led to city official hit by train?

January 14, 2009 3:32:40 PM PST
Authorities are looking into how a city official who who fell on the subway tracks was struck by a train on January 4, despite witnesses alerting an employee before the train arrived. Ronald Melichar is now fighting for his life.

Melichar is listed in critical but stable condition at St. Luke's Hospital. Now, there are calls for a thorough investigation.

Melichar's life came frighteningly close to an end 10 days ago, while he was waiting for the No. 1 downtown train at the City College station.

For some unexplained reason, he ended up falling to the tracks. A witness then went running for help at the subway booth.

"I told her that she needed to call and have the power shut down," Roberta Gold said. "She picked up the phone and apparently made a call. She seemed to believe that the message was going to be relayed to the proper people and the power would be shut down."

A train arrived before the help, however, passing right over the 62-year-old city official.

"We waved urgently to signal the motorman to stop," Gold said. "He did, as soon as he saw us, slam on his brakes. I think he really tried his best."

Firefighters were able to rescue him from under the train, and he was rushed to the hospital.

At this point, New York City transit will only say that the incident is under investigation.

Mayor Bloomberg is urging the MTA to find the answers.

"This morning I talked to Lee Sander and he said they are investigating, so I just don't know at this point," Bloomberg said.

Melichar is a dedicated and well-respected man who has worked for the city for 25 years. Currently, he is with the Department of Small Business Services, working as executive director of contract management for district development.

"Our thoughts are with Ron," said commissioner Robert Walsh. "We wish him a speedy recovery."


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