EXCLUSIVE: Subway conductor speaks out after he was pushed onto tracks

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Friday, September 4, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Subway conductor pushed onto tracks speaks out
NJ Burkett gets an exclusive interview with an MTA subway conductor who was pushed onto the tracks in an unprovoked attack.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- An MTA subway conductor who was pushed onto the tracks in an unprovoked attack spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News as he was released from the hospital Thursday.

Dennis Russo, 65, was released from Brooklyn Hospital Thursday afternoon.

"Oh, yeah, close call is right. I'm glad to be alive," Russo said.

MTA platform conductor Dennis Russo has broken ribs and a fractured spine. But he knows it could have been worse.

He could have been crushed beneath a northbound A train. He was working the platform at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday morning when he was blindsided by a man who ran up behind him.

"The guy ran down the platform, just came and shoved me, and then continued to push me, and I went flying. I couldn't control it," Russo.

What he did not know is that a train was bearing down on him. That's when officers Alexander Miroshnyk and Asharul Chowdhury came running. One signaled to the train to stop while the other helped Dennis back onto the platform.

"One guy's got to go down, stop the train from coming in. And then the other officer, working as a team, went down onto the track area, and was able to grab them up," NYPD Insp. Ray Porteus said.

"I've been threatened and cursed at and stuff thrown at me, but nothing this violent," Russo said.

The NYPD released video of the suspect and Eyewitness News has learned that he was questioned and charged late Thursday afternoon. The Transport Workers Union says risks are rising.

NYPD Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre posted a tweet announcing the arrest of the suspect.

It says that the officers and detectives with the Brooklyn Transit Squad made the arrest and charged the suspect.

"During this pandemic, ridership is very, very low. But we're still seeing a disproportionate amount of assaults against our members, and it's concerning to say the least," Transport Workers Union Local #100 Vice President Eric Loegel said.

Russo has been a conductor for 23 years and is not sure he wants to return to work.

"I'd probably be pretty scared to go at this time. I'm looking around all the time as it is. That one caught me off guard. So I got some time, I got to heal and then I'll take it from there," Russo said.

It's one of three attacks on MTA workers that happened in just a 24 hour period.

MORE: MTA violence: 3 workers attacked in 24 hours, agency says

In Queens, someone smashed an MTA bus window Tuesday morning in Jamaica.

The in-service bus on the Q56 Route, travelling westbound, was standing in the bus stop at Jamaica Avenue and 132nd Street.

That's when police say a male pedestrian walked up to the driver's side window of the bus, verbally assaulted him, and struck the window with his fist that shattered the window.

Customers were safely discharged from the bus and no injuries were reported.

The attacker ran away from the scene and remains on the loose.

On Monday night, officials say a bus operator aboard an out-of-service bus at Fourth Avenue and E. 8th Street in Manhattan was assaulted.

The bus was standing at the terminal with its doors open when a male pedestrian had approached the bus and held the front doors open, according to authorities.

The man then punched the bus operator in the face several times.

The victim was removed to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to the face, neck and back.


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