A frail 74-year-old parking garage attendant was in critical condition Wednesday after a hulking stranger shoved him to the tracks at an Upper East Side subway stop, with a construction worker pulling the grandfather to safety only inches from the lethal third rail.
Trevor Crawford was barely a foot away from electrocution after the attack, with his unhinged assailant shouting at the senior citizen before pushing the victim and then fleeing just after midnight Tuesday.
Family members said the victim, attacked on his way home to Brooklyn from work, suffered a broken pelvis and cracked ribs along with injuries to his spine and arm in the unprovoked nightmare.
“Demons walk around us,” his daughter Ann-Marie Martin, 57, told the Daily News. “The pain on him, he’s just shaking real bad. … He doesn’t trouble nobody. He’s helpful and kind. Everyone is just wondering, ‘How can someone just push you?’ ”
Veteran contractor Pooran Mohabir, who came to Crawford’s rescue at the 68th St.-Hunter College station, said the victim was a mere 18 inches from death by electrocution when Mohabir clambered down to the tracks to rescue the stranger.
Crawford weighs just 118 pounds and is only 5-feet-7, his family said.
“He’s standing on the platform, just waiting for the train,” said NYPD Assistant Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny. “He’s approached, unprovoked, by a male who’s speaking to himself. He gets accused of staring at the male and he’s spontaneously just shoved onto the tracks.”
“The [attacker] got off the train,” recounted the victim’s granddaughter Kerry-Ann Martin, 36. “He was mumbling to himself. My grandfather is down there by himself so it doesn’t matter if it’s a person or an animal or something, you’re going to look. So he just looked at the person.”
Her grandfather “turned around because he noticed the guy was walking toward him,” she added. “My grandfather is very small and the guy pushed him. He pushed him so hard that his palm print is still visible on his chest.”
The family learned of the attack when Crawford called them from an ambulance, with Ann-Marie Martin recounting calling multiple hospitals before finally tracking her father down as the frantic hours passed after the call.
“We didn’t know nothing,” she recalled. “We were in the dark.”
Mohabir was working an overnight construction shift in the station when he heard shouting on the platform one level below his jobsite. After coming down to the train platform, the Local 363 United Electrical Workers member saw the victim lying on the tracks.
“There wasn’t a second thought in my mind that I needed to help this man,” recounted the worker. “And quickly, before another train arrived.”
His family said Crawford, who lives with his daughter and grandchild, has worked for more than three decades at the Imperial Parking lot near the subway stop.
Crawford is a native of Jamaica who came to New York in 1985, landing his job at the parking garage three years later, his family said. He is the father of five, with four daughters and a son.
Ann-Marie Martin described her father as an active man who never considered leaving his job even as he grew older.
“It’s like he couldn’t do retirement,” she said. “He’s a person who would get up and go. … He would walk 10 blocks, up and down; he just likes to walk. He’s very active.”
Police released surveillance footage of the suspect Wednesday as Crawford remained at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell in critical condition. They are asking the public’s help identifying the suspect and tracking him down.
The 5-foot-9, roughly 200-pound suspect, clad in a dirty black polo shirt and brown pants, was muttering to himself before going at Crawford.
His daughter said the family was fortunate their patriarch escaped with his life from the terrifying encounter.
“Papa is a very quick-on-his-feet person, but he’s fragile,” said his daughter. “I thank God, because what if another train was coming? What if he had hit his head? What would have happened?”
Crawford was targeted while standing on the platform waiting for a downtown No. 2 train before his commute exploded into violence, according to police. He is being treated for multiple injuries, with family members expecting an extended recovery.
“He has a heart condition, as well,” said his granddaughter. “He has an epidural injection in his lower back. They’re trying to numb the pain. He’s still not able to focus and talk because he’s on medication. He still hasn’t eaten anything because if there’s any emergency, they have to rush him into surgery.”
The terrifying incident was the second city subway shove in a week, following a Sept. 5 incident in which a straphanger was pushed on the tracks inside the Grant Ave. station in Brooklyn during a robbery. The suspect fled after fighting with the victim over his cell phone and wallet.