Red Sox fan dies after climbing on roof of train in New York
A Red Sox fan was killed after he climbed onto the roof of a train in New York and was electrocuted by the overhead wires, passengers and officials said.
The man was identified by MTA officials as Michael Vigeant, 24, of Hudson, N.H.
MTA Metro-North Railroad officials said the incident occurred Wednesday around 11:30 p.m. on the New Haven line, which had just departed from Yankee Stadium.
Michael Pellicci, 47, of Stamford, Conn., was among the many baseball fans on the train that night.
Pellicci said at one point, the train stopped. Passengers were talking, and he overheard a woman say, “Did I just see someone run across the track?”
They looked out the window, but it was dark. Then when the train started moving again, Pellicci said a conductor rushed over to the door and grabbed a man in a Red Sox shirt, whom Pellicci believes was Vigeant’s brother, and said, “What are you doing?”
Pellicci said he appeared to be climbing the ladder to the top of the train when the conductor pulled him inside.
Pellicci said the brother jokingly said he was looking for the “observation deck,” to which the conductor replied, “The only thing up there for you is 12,000 volts.”
Then everyone heard a thud. There was a flash of light.
Pellicci said Vigeant fell between the two cars. It was clear that he’d been electrocuted, he said.
“His arm was totally burnt,” Pellicci said. “It was bad.”
Pellicci said bystanders on the train and police began performing CPR on Vigeant.
“Nobody hesitated,” he said. “It was done out of pure heart.”
Pellicci commended the actions of those volunteers, the police, and especially the conductor, who stopped Vigeant’s brother from climbing up to the top of the train.
If it hadn’t been for the conductor, the brother surely would have suffered the same fate, he said.
“He pulled the brother in,” Pellicci said. “He saved that kid’s life.”
The train was between Larchmont and Mamaroneck station when it happened. Trains on the New Haven line subsequently experienced delays until about 3:20 a.m., officials said.
Bob Fredericks, a senior writer for the New York Post, said he was on the train with his family when a conductor came over the intercom, “sounding stressed, asking for any doctors or nurses to rush to the head of the train.”
“Several men and women sprinted past us up the aisle of the packed train — filled with both Yankee and Red Sox fans, many highly inebriated — toward the front of the train,” Fredericks said in an e-mail to the Globe.
“No one really knew what was going on, and it was starting to take on a ‘Lord of the Flies’ feel as the AC was off and onboard toilets stopped working,” he said.
Fredericks said eventually one of the volunteers returned to their train car looking shaken. After she explained what happened, most of the passengers quieted down, he said.
Fredericks said passengers were stuck on the stranded train for more than two hours until a rescue train pulled up.
Vigeant was taken to a local hospital, where he died, officials said.
“Our sympathies go to the family during this very difficult time,” Metro-North spokeswoman Nancy Gamerman said. “The incident is under investigation and we will release further information when it is available.”
Fredericks said what happened to the young man was “very, very sad,” and he felt sorry for his family.
Pellicci echoed those sentiments.
“I feel so bad for those parents getting that phone call,” Pellicci said. “It’s a shame.”
Pellicci said one reason why he’s talking about the incident is that he never wants to see a tragedy like this happen again.
He also wants his sons, who are 11 and 12, to realize that a foolish stunt can result in life-changing consequences.
“You can’t do things that may seem cool or funny or just because everyone else is doing it,” he said. “These are two brothers who made a silly decision, and one of them got killed over it.”