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Man Caught in F Train Doors Dragged to His Death, MTA Says

By  Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner | February 16, 2016 7:55am | Updated on February 16, 2016 3:54pm

QUEENS — A commuter was dragged to his death Monday night after he got caught in the doors of an F train as it pulled out of a Kew Gardens subway station, MTA officials said.

Edward Leonard, 51, was trying to board the southbound train in the Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens station about 6:45 p.m. when the doors closed on him, an MTA spokesman said.

He was dragged about 30 feet and suffered severe head and torso injuries, sources said.

Leonard, who was living in South Ozone Park's Skyway homeless shelter, was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital, officials said.

Bernice Maitland, a 61-year-old home health aide, said she had just gotten off the train when she saw Leonard apparently board the train and get caught in a door and between the car and the platform.

She said the train pulled out of the station dragging him for about 25 feet before he broke free and toppled onto the platform, coming out of his shoes and striking his head of the floor.

Maitland said the train did not stop and continued out of the station.

Leonard, meanwhile, was lying precariously close to the platform edge, bleeding from his head, she said. "I saw he was bleeding and he looked a like a rag doll lying there."

She said a number of people called 911, but only she and a young woman stayed with the mortally injured Leonard, waiting for assistance to come.

"You know New Yorkers, they are always in a hurry," she said. "But I believe it does not matter who anyone is or where they live, they are all human beings."

She said Leonard's breathing became shallow and it seemed as though it took paramedics a long time to arrive. But FDNY officials say it took nine minutes for paramedics to get to the station, about the citywide average time.

"I was so shaken I could barely touch my phone,"said Maitland. "I never want to see anything like that again."

Workers Union could not say how the man got stuck or why the train's crew didn't immediately realize he was stuck.

Investigators are questioning the train crew, which has also been tested for drugs and alcohol, an MTA spokeswoman said.

The NYPD was investigating the man's death, but did not immediately have further information.