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Man Hit By Train 'Alive and Doing Well'

Thomas Harris is recovering from a crushed leg after being struck at Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center station in November.


The man who was hit by a northbound 4 or 5 train at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station in November was badly injured, but lived through the experience and is recovering at Kings County Hospital, his daughter said.

"He's alive and he's doing well," said his daughter, Tefelate Brown, in a telephone interview Friday afternoon.

Thomas Harris, a 55-year-old, father of 10 was on the northbound platform of the 4/5 train, when, just before 4:37 p.m., someone knocked his cart onto the tracks, Brown said.

Harris is a drummer who is homeless and could often be found selling African drums, flags and other goods out of the cart on the corner of Classon Avenue and Pacific.

When the cart fell, he jumped onto the tracks after it and then didn't have time to get out before the train came, Brown said.

"It's easy to jump down and it's hard to jump back up," said Brown, adding that the cart was her father's "only bread and butter."

"Put yourself in his shoes, he didn't hear or see anything coming," she said.

When the train came, his first reaction was to duck under the platform, but there wasn't enough room.

The train hit Harris on one side of his body and the drummer's right leg was crushed, his left hip fractured and his left hand mauled. The cart helped break the train's impact, Brown said.

He was taken to Kings County Hospital, where doctors had to amputate his leg above the knee. Thomas also lost two fingers and part of his hand, Brown said. 

Despite all this, Harris is in good spirits, and Brown is working on bringing him to live near her in Virginia, she said.

"We've been trying to encourage him to come out here, but he's a street guy—he's always been that way even when we were kids," she said.

Harris, who grew up in Chicago, moved to Brooklyn when he was 17. Despite his wandering ways, he was a dedicated father who played a big part in raising his children in Bed-Stuy, Brown said.

elisha george January 24, 2013 at 09:37 PM
I'm one of his daughters .... my dad has suffered so much in all this.... he will never be the same.... and neither will we. We are thankful he is alive.


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