CHICAGO (CBS) — A TSA worker who helped save a woman who fell onto a set of subway tracks on Tuesday downplayed his decision to jump in front of a moving CTA Blue Line train.
“It was really no big deal for me, and it still isn’t. I’m kind of embarrassed. I mean, I know that people that I work for, people that I work with, they would have probably done the same thing,” Eddie Palacios said Thursday, a day after jumping on the tracks at the Chicago and Milwaukee subway station to flag down a train bearing down on a woman who fell on the tracks.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports Palacios, a Transportation Security Administration worker at O’Hare International Airport, said he worked it out in his head: if he jumped on the tracks and stood between the woman and the train, the operator would see the orange Fighting Illini hoodie he was wearing, and stop the train.
“I don’t want anybody to think I was being reckless at all. I wasn’t,” Palacios said. “I was actually trying to calculate the time from the train, and how much time I had to get back on top of the platform.”
Palacios said he knew the train would have time to stop, even when considering it was just last week when another Blue Line train jumped the tracks and slammed into an escalator at the O’Hare station, after the operator dozed off at the controls, and automated braking systems failed to stop the train in time.
“I did have faith in the conductor, and I had faith in the orange sweater, too,” he said.
Rita Sattler, who works for Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th) was on the platform when it happened.
“She staggered backwards, and fell towards the third rail,” she said.
That’s when Palacios sprang into action, after he heard people screaming about the woman who fell.
He attributed his quick thinking to his training as a TSA worker.
“They want certain things to be second-nature, and it actually works,” he said.
Sattler and other passengers pulled the woman off the tracks. She was taken to the hospital for a head injury.
Palacios, who has been with the TSA for 12 years, said he doesn’t think what he did was a big deal.
Right after helping save the woman who’d fallen on the tracks, Palacios boarded the next train to O’Hare to get to work.