Top Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials today honored Rikien Wilder, the Good Samaritan whose heroic actions led to the arrest of the man charged with causing the derailment of an train at 14th Street on Sunday. As recognition for his bravery, Wilder received a year of free unlimited subway and bus rides and an official MTA “NY Tough” t-shirt.
Originally from Red Bank, NJ, Wilder, 44, now lives in Manhattan and was at the 14th Street subway station Sunday morning when he saw a man place debris on the tracks. Finding himself in an extraordinary situation, he climbed down to the tracks to remove some of the debris just before a train passed through the area safely. Wilder went to notify MTA personnel before returning to the platform – where he observed the same man place more debris on the tracks, causing a northbound train to derail. Wilder then chased down the suspect and held him on the station mezzanine for police.
All 135 passengers on board the derailed train were safely discharged onto a platform by MTA personnel as NYPD officers placed the suspect under arrest upstairs.
“New Yorkers are known for putting others ahead of themselves, and that’s exactly what Rikien Wilder did,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO. “While we do not want members of the public placing themselves in danger by jumping onto the tracks, this brave Good Samaritan is a hero three times over – for removing debris, alerting personnel, and making sure the alleged perpetrator could not get away before police arrived. He truly exemplifies the best of New York.”
“Rikien Wilder’s actions to ensure this suspect could not repeat the heinous crime somewhere else likely saved the lives of fellow New Yorkers, something you cannot put a price on,” said Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit Interim President. “With his birthday coming on October 01,2020, the best way we could think to thank Rikein for his heroism is a year of free unlimited subway and bus rides.”
Following the incident, emergency response crews from NYC Transit worked through the night to repair and replace hundreds of feet of damage to tracks, third rail and pillars, successfully performing the Herculean task of restoring normal service in time for the Monday morning rush.