Station of subway death left unlocked by SEPTA

A 30-year-old woman who fell onto the tracks at a SEPTA subway station early yesterday morning before being hit by a train got in because the station was unlocked, SEPTA officials said.

The woman, whose name was not released, entered the Lombard-South station around 2:15 a.m. surveillance video shows, SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said. The woman fell onto the third rail and laid there for hours until being hit by a train around 5 a.m. An autopsy yesterday confirmed that she was electrocuted, Williams said.

Although SEPTA did not release the video out of compassion for the woman’s family, a Metro reporter viewed the footage, which shows the woman, who appeared to be under the influence, on the platform for about four minutes. On the video, the woman sits down on a bench and rocks back slightly before standing up and walking to a concrete pillar. The woman rubs on the pillar for about a minute before taking two steps and falling sharply off the platform.

Williams said the station is normally locked down by transit police around 12:30 a.m. after the last train, but Wednesday night officers were responding to two other incidents, including a copper theft at the Wayne Junction rail yard.

“These officers had been pulled away from regular duty and had not yet been able to get back to close up the stations,” Williams said.

When asked whether the agency was liable for the incident, Williams said, “That’s going to be part of the investigation. Again, we have officers that are assigned to that zone, but they’re also assigned to handle other criminal activity.”

The incident will be reviewed by SEPTA’s safety department and its new police chief, who will start Monday, Williams said.

Busy week on transit system

It has been a busy week for SEPTA safety inspectors. Early Wednesday, a pedestrian was hit by a Route 18 bus near the Fox Chase loop in Northeast Philadelphia. His condition was unknown yesterday. On Monday, a 58-year-old woman was killed and 13 people injured in a crash between a car and a Route 55 bus in the city’s Ogontz section. Additionally, a man was injured Friday after touching overhead wires while standing on top of a Regional Rail train at the Doylestown station. He suffered burns, but his condition is also unknown. The woman who died yesterday was not identified by SEPTA and city police said they did not have her identity. A spokesman for the city medical examiner could not be reached.

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