Ga. firefighters rescue woman after suicide attempt on train tracks
The woman was pulled to safety from beneath the train, and suffered minor injuries
By Christian Boone
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
FIVE POINTS, Ga. — A woman rescued from underneath a MARTA train at Five Points during Tuesday morning's rush hour was trying to kill herself, a transit authority spokeswoman said.
Nicole Smith, 30, spotted by a witness jumping out of her wheelchair as a train approached, survived despite being passed over by several cars. MARTA shut power to the tracks while rescue workers freed her.
Smith, who suffered minor injuries, is being charged under the Georgia Mental Health Act, which requires she be held at a medical facility for evaluation, MARTA spokeswoman Cara Hodgson said.
Firefighters used ropes to pull her on a stretcher from beneath the train. Atlanta Fire Capt. Jolyon Bundridge said Smith's small stature "helped her avoid the underside of the chassis of the train."
The incident happened on the northbound tracks shortly after 8 a.m.
MARTA passenger Vickie Mullins was near the front of the train when Smith, of Atlanta, "just got up and jumped."
Mullins said the train operator hit the emergency brakes, but about half the train's cars passed over the woman.
"It was really, really scary," Mullins told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Mullins said the train operator stopped the train "and just started screaming, and everybody was trying to get in to help her."
A MARTA police officer finally opened the train doors to let the passengers out, Mullins said.
Throughout the morning, MARTA ran a bus shuttle between Civic Center and West End as rescue workers tended to Smith. Trains ran both ways but only on the southbound track. MARTA said all service had returned to normal around noon.
Staff writers Mike Morris and Mark Davis contributed to this article.
Copyright 2011 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution