UPDATED at 5:56 p.m. 8/4/11
A 74-year-old woman from Kingsbridge jumped in front of a No. 1 train at the 231st Street station and died when the train hit her this morning, police said.
No. 1 train service is suspended in both directions between the Van Cortlandt Park 242nd Street and 215th Street stations, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Some buses were being rerouted onto Bailey Avenue.
Capt. Kevin Burke, commanding officer of the 50th Precinct, said a woman, whose identity is still unknown, “intentionally jumped onto the track and waited for the train to strike her,” at around 9:30 a.m. He said she was carrying “psychological medicine” with her.
“Two independent eye witnesses said she was sitting there, got up as the train was approaching, jumped in and waited for the train,” Capt. Burke said.
Shortly after 10 a.m., police had interviewed witnesses and were still waiting for the medical examiner to arrive.
Steven Banks, 27, was waiting for a train to take him to work when, he said, he witnessed the gruesome death.
“Everybody kinda put their hands on their mouth and turned away,” he said.
For some time afterward, an arm protruded from the tracks, hanging above the street near the southernmost entrance of the downtown side of the station. When police arrived, they roped off that section of the street and were guarding all the entrances. Still, crowds gathered near the scene.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. The foot was above the torso,” Mr. Banks said. “Cops were looking beneath the train trying to find [her] and I saw the foot and was like ‘over here!’ I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time.”
Police originally believed the victim was a middle-aged Hispanic woman, but determined otherwise after removing her body from the tracks. They have now identified her but The Press is withholding her name while police search for her next of kin.