WASHINGTON -- A transit officer from Houston played hero in D.C.'s Metro system Tuesday morning.
Officer Elliott Swainson is in D.C. to help beef up Metro's police presence for the inauguration. When a 68-year-old woman from Nashville fell onto the tracks, Swainson dived off the platform, grabbed the woman and rolled under the lip of the platform, avoiding a train by inches.
Swainson, a 15-year veteran of the Houston Metro Police Department, said he heard people yelling that a person was on the tracks at about 9:15 a.m.
"I turned around and saw a lady standing in the track area," Swainson said.
He rushed to the woman and with the help of a Metro rider, they reached down to try to pull her up from the tracks, but were unable to as a Red Line train heading toward Glenmont was pulling into the station.
"The train was coming in closer," Swainson said. "I pushed her down and got her tucked down under the platform."
He told the woman to remain in the crawl space beneath the granite platform edge for safety.
"Due to Officer Swainson’s quick response, the woman was not seriously injured," said Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn.
"He did exactly what was expected, and we are enormously grateful for his actions."
Metro had to close the Gallery Place and Metro Center stations to investigate, forcing people to walk further to reach the National Mall, but service has been restored.
The woman apparently fell when she turned to look for a relative she had been separated from. She was hospitalized with a dislocated shoulder.
Train stations were extremely crowded Tuesday and Metro advised passengers to stand at least 2 feet away from the platform edge for their safety.