QUEENS, NY A Queens teenager was killed yesterday when a subway train slammed into her after she retrieved the new $80 cell phone she had just dropped on the tracks, police said.
Two good Samaritans desperately tried to pull Lina Villegas, 18, to safety as the V train roared around a blind curve into the Grand Ave.-Newtown station in Elmhurst.
|The train roared around a blind curve into the station.|
"I still can't believe the story. I still can't believe it's true," Villegas' heartbroken best friend, Angie Redondo, 24, of Elmhurst, wept last night.
The tragedy unfolded about 2 p.m., when Villegas dropped her prized phone, which she had bought just a month ago with her wages as a worker at Manhattan perfume company.
She climbed onto the tracks and grabbed the phone. But the teen quickly realized she was in trouble and started try to climb back up to the 5-foot-high platform.
"She tried to get up on the platform once or twice with no train coming or anything, and I could see she was going to have a problem."
|"She tried to get up on the platform once or twice with no train coming or anything, and I could see she was going to have a problem," said one good Samaritan, a 56-year-old TV newswriter named Jerry. "She turned around to make one more look or something, and then I could hear the train coming."|
"She immediately tried to get up on the platform," said Jerry, who did not want his last name used. "She had her arms above on the platform and the guy that was there had grabbed hold of her one arm and was trying to pull her up, and at that point you could see the lights on the tracks."
Jerry then grabbed the man and tried to pull him back to help him hoist the teen to safety.
"I was hoping he could hang on to her and I could pull him back and that would pull her out ... but it didn't work," he said. "You could hear the emergency brakes come on, but the train was too close. I think it probably knocked her right out of his hands or he let go just before it hit her."
Jerry said he screamed, "No!" and turned away from the bloody scene.
"I didn't look," he said. "I didn't want to. There was nothing to do."
Friends tried last night to comfort Villegas' mother, Nori Penagos, 45, who immigrated from Colombia seven years ago and brought her daughter here in 2001.
"She's crying," Redondo said of Penagos, who works as a manicurist. "She doesn't believe what happened."
Redondo said Villegas, who dreamed of saving enough money to go to college and become an architect, bought the Sprint cellphone about a month ago.
Villegas' father, Groelfi, and 9-year-old brother, Camillo, still live in Colombia, but had hoped to move to New York someday, friends said.
Gabriel Santos, 49, who rents a room in his Elmhurst apartment to Villegas and her mother, said the girl had the day off from work yesterday and was on her way to do errands in Manhattan.
"She was a very nice girl, very happy, very active. She loved to dance," Santos said of Villegas, who worked at a perfume store near 28th St. and Broadway.
"She was a beautiful lady."