Subway dispute over dropped phone turns deadly in Queens

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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A 50-year-old man is in custody after a fight with another subway rider ended with that man fatally struck by a train in Elmhurst, Queens. N.J. Burkett has the story.

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) -- A 50-year-old man is under arrest after a fight with another subway rider ended with that man fatally struck by a train in Elmhurst, Queens.

The suspect was standing near the platform of the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave. station at around 4:45 p.m. Monday when 48-year-old Heriberto Quintana bumped into him while walking by.

The contact sent the suspect's cellphone tumbling onto the subway tracks.

The suspect, Carlos Garcia, told the victim to go get his phone. He refused, and the two began arguing which then became a brawl.

In a defensive move, Garcia pushed the victim off his body, causing him to slide headfirst across the platform into the front of a moving F train.

Quintana, of Queens, was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.

Garcia was arrested on a charge of manslaughter. He does not have a significant criminal history.

It was the ninth killing in the city's subway system this year, and the 10th in transit.

The latest in a series of high-profile incidents in the New York City transit system has left transit president Rich Davey frustrated.

"Yeah, it's frustrating, you know, I wish I could wave a magic wand and, you know, get folks who need mental health services mental health," Davey said. "Some of these crimes are senseless. Yesterday's act, it seems, was senseless. Was over a cellphone, for God's sake."

Davey toured the Union Square station Tuesday, which has been the scene of several incidents in recent months-where there was a sizable police presence in the afternoon.

Conductors have been ordered to make announcements to reassure riders when police are onboard or on the platforms.

Police are hoping to prevent what riders fear most-random, unprovoked attacks. Just this weekend, German Sabio survived being shoved into the path of a 6 train in The Bronx. A woman was brutally beaten in Jamaica, Queens last month. Others have been shot and stabbed.

Davey says some of the attacks have happened despite police presence on the platforms.

"I think we're doing everything we can, you know?" Davey said. "And NYPD, I know this morning, we met with another 63 police officers that are graduating that will be brought here to transit. So look, I think we can always do more, to your point, but there's a lot going on. That's what we're highlighting today."

ALSO READ | Eyewitness News gets exclusive ride-along with NYPD commissioner amid fear over subway crime

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