Horrific train derailment from an earlier time
From the pages of Brave Hearts: Extraordinary Stories of Pride, Pain and Courage
By Cynthia Brown



From Chapter Four: When Love Crashes In:
The Story of Ann-Margaret Lyons and Pete Tetukevich


When John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway,” he could have been talking about Ann-Margaret Lyons.

It was right before Labor Day in 1991. In New York City the No. 4 Lexington Avenue train derailed before entering the Union Square Station at 14th Street. On that day, the 4 train was operated by Robert Ray. He derailed switching from the express to the local tracks about one hundred yards before he entered the station. Transit Authority rules require motormen to travel no more than ten miles per hour when switching from one track to another. Ray had been travelling close to fifty.

NYPD Officer Ann-Margar\et Lyons was in a marked police car near the station when she heard the “10-13” come in over the radio. “It was something about two cops injured at the rear of a subway train,” she said. “There was a lieutenant with me. We flew up to 14th Street and ran down into the station.”

What awaited Ann-Margaret and the other first responders was shocking. The carnage made the station look like a junk yard that had just been bombed. Everything was upside down and burning.

The first car of the ten-car train jumped the tracks as it was clearing the switch. It veered to the right slamming into the wall. Then it veered to the left slashing through a dozen metal beams. The car was sheared cleanly in half. The next four cars derailed with the third and fourth cars sustaining the most damage. The force of the crash propelled them up into the air where they collided together with enormous force before they fell back down in a tangled mess. Some of the cars were sticking straight up in a vertical ninety degree angle from the tracks. Five people died and scores were taken to local hospitals with serious injuries.

Lyons said when she got down there the scene was like a horror movie. She could see there were still people inside the train. “One person was holding on to a pole. Somehow it was still upright. The man was staring straight ahead. He’d gone into total shock.”

She climbed into the one of the cars. “There were wires hanging everywhere. Somehow I got to the man clutching the pole. I think a few of us pushed him through a hole but I can’t remember exactly.”

When the doors wouldn’t open on the second car, Ann-Margaret squeezed through a small opening. Once she got inside, she was able to get several more people out of the wreck. By this time the fire department was on the scene. There were bodies lying everywhere and the temperature had soared over one hundred degrees.

“We were trying to get them onto stretchers and carry them to the triage area for initial treatment before they were evacuated to the hospital,” Lyons said. “There was one thing that happened down there I’ve never been able to forget. I still dream about it. There was a man pinned to the roof of the subway. His head was wedged up and completely crushed by the metal.”

To read more about Ann-Margaret’s adventures with the NYPD (she was assigned to the Department’s elite Emergency Service Unit) along with 14 other remarkable officers go to www.braveheartsbook.com and order your copy today.