'Angel Saved My Life,' Says Man Who Plunged Onto Subway Tracks

By Adam Nichols on December 19, 2010 11:18am | Updated on December 19, 2010 11:15am

Jerome Billings saw a train speeding towards him as he lay on the tracks.
Jerome Billings saw a train speeding towards him as he lay on the tracks.
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DNAinfo/Jennifer Glickel

By Adam Nichols

DNAinfo News Editor

HARLEM — A disabled man plunged onto Harlem subway tracks after accidentally leaning on the throttle of his electric wheelchair.

Bronx musician Jerome Billings, 60, told the Daily News he saw the lights of a train speeding toward him as he lay on the rails — and he prepared to die.

"All these people were yelling, telling me that my hand was near the third rail," Billings told the Daily News from his hospital bed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Saturday.

"I was petrified. I thought I was going to die.

"I'm laying down on the tracks and I can see the train coming. I can see the lights and I'm thinking, 'It's the last time I'll ever see anything.' I can feel the ground rumbling and I'm thinking I'm a goner."

He didn't count on heroic MTA worker Carlos Betancourt being in the station on Friday. He leapt onto the tracks at the 125th St. and Lexington Ave. station  and, with the help of other straphangers, dragged the man to safety.

"He was like an angel," Billings told the the News.

"He's a hero. He saved my life. He jumped by himself.

"After he jumped, the others jumped on the track. They helped pull me over the edge. I was just seconds from death, they saved me. I am forever grateful."

Billings escaped what he thought was certain death with just a broken leg.

Now he said he wants to speak to Betancourt.

"(I want to) tell him how much I owe him" he said.

"What he did for me is the best Christmas gift I could ask for."



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