Dangers of Riding Drunk on Metro: New Video Shows Passengers Falling off Escalators, onto Tracks

Four passengers in the video are believed to be so drunk they have trouble navigating the system

Some Washington, D.C.-area bars said they’re going to direct intoxicated people to cab rides Tuesday, during New Year’s Eve festivities, in the wake of a News4 I-Team investigation.

Dramatic surveillance camera footage shows at least five passengers, each suspected of being intoxicated, suffering falls inside Metro train stations since the beginning of November.

All survived, but the footage shows the passengers tumbling dozens of feet onto tracks, platforms and walkways.

The most recent happened at the L’Enfant Plaza station Sunday morning, when a passenger suspected of being under the influence of alcohol fell while sitting on a wall.

Managers of Tommy Joe’s restaurant across the street from the Bethesda Red Line station said they’ve been directing intoxicated people to cabs to ensure a safer door-to-door trip home. Owner Alan Pohoryles said, “Literally every weekend, especially holiday weekends, there’s a line of 15 cabs here, from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.”

A representative of Barracks Row Entertainment, which owns several D.C. bars including the Hawk N’ Dove on Capitol Hill, said their restaurants have also established programs to direct intoxicated people to cab systems.

The surveillance video, first obtained by the News4 I-Team, also includes images of a man tumbling from atop an escalator at the Clarendon Metro station on the Orange Line in late November. The incident happened just before 2 a.m. on a Saturday.

On the video, he falls two levels to the ground below; more than a dozen other passengers are seen running toward a nearby wall to find the victim.

The video also shows a man and woman riding an escalator at 2:28 a.m. at the Archives station on the Green Line. After nearing the top of the escalator, the man is seen leaning against the rail, then tumbling over.

A woman at the Stadium-Armory station, on the Orange Line, is seen stumbling as she approaches the edge of the platform on a Saturday morning in late November. She pauses near the edge, then falls on to the tracks.

Good Samaritans pulled her out of the tracks about a minute later.

Dan Stessel, a spokesman for the transit agency, said each of the victims shown in the footage was under the influence of alcohol. Stessel said passengers should be aware of the danger of riding the system while drunk. “We want folks to ride responsibly,” Stessel said, “If they do find themselves in a position where they have trouble walking or standing, they might want to take a cab instead.”

Joseph Kitchen, a former member of Metro’s Riders’ Advisory Council, said intoxicated passengers are also a danger to others riding the trains.

Kitchen said, “Sometimes someone is too drunk and can't control themselves. And (other passengers) are tired of their outrageous behavior.”

D.C. Council member Jim Graham said he’s been notified of several instances in which drunken passengers risked injury along Metrobuses. Bus drivers, Graham said, have repeatedly complained about the threat of intoxicated people falling from – or near – buses.

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