Feb. 21, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
A piece of wood measuring several feet long fell from the 7 train tracks above Roosevelt Avenue and pierced through a car windshield below near 65th Street earlier today, according to authorities.
A driver was headed eastbound on the avenue in his Chevrolet Tahoe just before 12:30 p.m. when a long beam of wood came crashing down from above and broke straight through the front passenger side of the SUV, an NYPD spokesperson said.
The driver, whose age was not disclosed, was the only person in the car.
Emergency services responded to the scene shortly after, though the driver refused medical attention, police said. It is unclear what the extent of his injuries, if any, were.
Photos taken at the scene of the incident by witnesses were tweeted out by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer at around 3:20 p.m., who initially said the piece of wood was “a track from the 7 train.”
“Thankfully the driver was not injured, but someone could have been killed!” he wrote. “There must be an immediate investigation into how something this dangerous could happen. MTA must answer for our crumbling subway infrastructure before a tragedy occurs.”
In a statement, MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek said: “We take this incident extremely seriously, are conducting a full investigation into what happened, have personnel ensuring the rest of the area is safe, and are relieved that no one was injured.”
The MTA said preliminary observations indicate that the wood that fell is not part of the track, but from a worker or supply platform that was installed beneath the tracks years ago. No construction projects, however, are taking place at the location at the moment.
That platform has now been dismantled and removed, and the rest of the 7 line structure is now being checked for similar platforms. Every other elevated structure in the system will also be checked.
Van Bramer, who also noted shortly after his initial tweets that the fallen object is “not track,” said the incident is “horrifying” nonetheless.
“Regardless, someone could have died,” he said.
Several videos taken at the scene by witnesses were also posted to a local Facebook group. In them, passerby can be heard telling the unseen driver to call 9-1-1, with one witness claiming he saw the beam when it came tumbling down.
The falling wooden beam from the 7 line also follows a January incident involving decorative tiles from the concrete viaduct in Sunnyside falling and piercing the windshield of a parked car below. The MTA has since started to remove loose tiles from the viaduct “out of an abundance of caution.”