Man who pleaded guilty in caught-on-camera NYC subway shove gets 8 years in prison

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022
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A man who pushed a woman in front of an oncoming subway train was sentenced to prison Thursday. Sonia Rincon has the story.

UNION SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man who pushed a woman in front of an oncoming subway train in 2020 was sentenced to prison Thursday.

Aditya Vemulapati was sentenced to eight years in prison, along with five years post release supervision.

Vemulapati pleaded guilty in June to a second-degree attempted murder charge.

The horrific incident was caught on camera, showing the victim, a woman in her 40s, standing on the platform at the Union Square station around 8:30 a.m. on November 19, 2020.

There were several random attacks in the subway system around that time during a period of low ridership because of the pandemic, which made the prospect of returning to the subway even scarier for many.

Vemulapati waited for a train to enter the station and then ran up behind the woman, a stranger to him, and pushed her in front of the oncoming train.

She landed between the tracks before several train cars passed over her, but amazingly, she survived with only minor injuries.

She was rescued from under the train by firefighters and was treated at the hospital after an MTA worker radioed for help.

Another transit worker who witnessed the shove jumped into action and held Vemulapati until police arrived.

At the time of his arrest, he was homeless and described as emotionally disturbed.

In court on Thursday, he was calm but had a prepared statement with a lot to say about criminal justice system, unrelated to his case.

"Deeply sorry for the trouble I have caused you, the pain that I have made you endure, the trauma that I am responsible for. I am so, so sorry for putting your life in danger that day."

The judge cut him short and asked him to focus on his sentence and the crime he pleaded guilty to.

The Manhattan District attorney called the crime and the video chilling, and said it captured every subway rider's worst nightmare. But he also said it's important to remember that something like this is rare.

"It is something that is sad, tragic, criminal and for which we sought and have accountability, but thankfully that is not the experience that New Yorkers are having and so we're working every day to make sure that things like this do not happen and when they happen, people are held accountable," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

Eyewitness News spoke with the recovering victim only a few days after the attack and she was still very shaken.

She was not in court on Thursday.

Even though many violent crimes this year are down this year over last year, there have been 16 subway pushing incidents in 2022 compared to 15 the same time last year.

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