Man Pulled Down by Moving Metro Train After Arm, Bag Get Stuck in Door

Man fell on the platform, but wasn't seriously injured

A man was pulled down by a moving Metro train and dragged for a short distance after his arm and bag got stuck in a train door Friday morning at L'Enfant Plaza, he said.

The man was taken to a hospital after the incident, which happened shortly before 10 a.m. Friday on the lower level of the station.

A Metro spokeswoman said that surveillance video shows the man "travels on the exterior of the train for approximately two car lengths before dislodging" but was not dragged.

The victim, Derrick Powell, told News4 the train never stopped after he got stuck.

Powell was on his way to chaperone his daughter's class trip, but as he ran to get on a Blue Line train, he stuck his arm inside the door, and his arm and bag were caught by a closing door, he said.

"I stuck my arm in the door to try to get the door to stay open," he said. "So the door shut on me."

The train then began to move, he said. 

"So I've got to skiddy up with the train," he said.

The victim told News4's Derrick Ward he and the conductor locked eyes, and said the conductor saw him with his arm in the door.

Powell said the train operator quickly opened and shut the door again, but his arm was still stuck.

He also said other people were yelling to stop the train, but the conductor never stopped. According to Metro, the driver had a signal that doors were not all closed, so the spokesperson said the driver recycled the doors.

The Metro spokeswoman said, that according to witnesses and camera footage, "the man was seen moving toward the train as the doors were closing and appears to throw a small bag or backpack through the doors."

Metro disputed that this was a dragging incident.

"It appears that part of the bag may have become lodged between the closed door leafs, and the man travels on the exterior of the train for approximately two car lengths before dislodging. He was not 'dragged,'" the spokeswoman said.

Metro said, based on what they know from station video and witness accounts, the man was not dragged. However, Powell said he was dragged, and that witnesses saw it.

As Powell and the train were fast approaching the tunnel, he said he finally snatched his arm from the train doors, and then lost his balance.

"Now I'm tumbling," he said. "So when I'm tumbling, I hit the side of the train; the train knocked me back on the platform. And I get up and I'm just in a daze."

"I'm thinking, did I really just have to jump off a train to save my life?" he said.

He said he suffered bruises and a laceration. The train kept going, he said.

Metro Transit Police and D.C. Fire & EMS were called to the scene. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital for observation and released.

He said he missed his daughter's field trip.

Normal service resumed shortly before 11 a.m., about an hour after Metro told riders to expect delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines because of a medical emergency at the station.

The incident is under investigation, and crews are checking to see that all equipment was working as intended, the spokeswoman said.

Metro has not yet talked to Powell because they want him to talk to the safety inspectors, they said.

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