14-year-old on long road to recovery after subway surfing incident claimed his best friend's life

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, June 23, 2023
Teen who survived subway surfing incident on long road to reocovery
14-year-olds Windinson Garcia and Brian Crespo were knocked off the top of subway train when it entered a tunnel. Anthony Carlo has the details.

BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A teen is on the long road to recovery after falling from the top of a subway train while subway surfing alongside his best friend who sadly did not make it.

Fourteen-year-olds Windinson Garcia and Brian Crespo got on top of a Manhattan-bound L train at the Broadway Junction stop Thursday afternoon and were knocked off when the train entered the tunnel before reaching the Bushwick-Aberdeen Ave stop.

"His waist is broken and he has like a lot of bruises and stitches all over his body," said Windinson's cousin Erika.

It's hard for 17-year-old Erika to believe her energetic little cousin on a stretcher.

But that's what happened after authorities said Windinson went subway surfing.

"I don't know why he decided to do stuff like that," Erika said. "He's very smart. He's like - how do I say - he likes to do dangerous things like that."

Maybe a daredevil but Erika said her family didn't know her cousin was surfing subways until Thursday afternoon.

"He was very courteous," said David Ponce, Brian's neighbor. "Very nice kid that's all I can say to hear about this, that's very shocking."

Passengers and the teen's friends watched as EMTs took one badly injured teen from the tracks at the next station, but there was nothing they could do to save the other.

"My heart and condolences go out to his family. Hopefully the other person is okay. I hope these kids learn from this, they gotta stop doing stuff like this," Mel said.

At the scene, the head of the local community board held back tears, saying kids need to understand consequences.

"When you get older, you realize," said Robert Camacho. "Some of the things we done was, all of us did dumb stuff."

The MTA keeps statistics on people seen riding on top of trains or in-between cars. In 2019, 490 people were seen "riding outside of trains," according to an MTA report.

In 2020, the number dropped to 199, but the number began to rise in 2021, and last year, it exploded to 928.

Mayor Eric Adams said he blames the dramatic increase on social media and called for TikTok to ban videos depicting the dangerous acts.

"Today we lost another child. The consequences of social media and other addictive online content are tragic and real," Mayor Eric Adams said. "Subway surfing kills."

Mayor Adams pointed to a public service announcement he released only a few weeks ago featuring the mother of another teen who recently died subway surfing.

"Life is a gift. Treat it as such. Stop worrying about followers," the mother Norma Nazario said in the PSA.

A TikTok spokesperson expressed sympathies on Friday but noted this dangerous activity predates its platform.

"More than 40,000 safety professionals are dedicated to keeping our community safe and work diligently to remove harmful content when found," the spokesperson said.

In the first two months of this year, the rate has nearly doubled over the same period last year.

"It says we have a lot of work to do," said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. "We have a lot of work to do to educate young people, teenagers, to tell them this isn't a game. lives are lost."

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