Metro train rider ‘shocked’ after blind man survives being run over

A passenger sleeps on the Metro Red Line. A blind man survived being run over by a Red Line train Thursday night after falling off the platform.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A passenger who was on the Metro Red Line train that passed over a blind man moments after he fell off a platform Thursday described having a “sick feeling” as riders realized what had happened.

The man -- an unidentified 47-year-old Los Angeles resident who survived the incident mostly unharmed -- had been using a cane to feel his way toward the edge of Metro’s Wilshire/Vermont subway platform when he went too far and tumbled over.

When the eastbound Red Line train slowed to a stop, the man was trapped underneath, said Paul Gonzales, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Graham Purvis of Santa Monica, who was in the second car of the Red Line train when it pulled into the station, said the operator walked through the cars telling passengers that something was pressed up against the doors and that they would have to be opened manually.


As passengers finally exited, Purvis said the operator and a Metro employee on the platform told them not to look under the train because someone was caught underneath. They weren’t told whether the victim had survived.

“I got sort of a sick feeling,” Purvis said. “I wanted to look, but also didn’t.”

Another passenger peered under the train, he said, and indicated that the man might have survived.

“But we didn’t know for sure,” Purvis said. “The whole thing -- I was quite shocked.”

Turns out, the train passed over the man, who fell into the track bed between the rail and the base of the subway platform, Gonzales said.

“It really is a miracle,” he said.

A Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman said he may have fallen under a small overhang near the base of the platform.

The man was transported to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition, Main said.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

Twitter: @laura_nelson