By Brad Edwards

CHICAGO (CBS) — An Army veteran pulled a woman from the Red Line tracks Tuesday morning as a train was barreling toward them.

CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports he came to his Red Line stop at Argyle for the 9:05 train and in an instant it became life or death.

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Brian Eckerman jumped to action when a he saw a woman he thought had fallen on the train tracks.

“I saw that she was reaching for the third rail and not actively trying to get up,” said Eckerman.

But she didn’t fall. She likely wanted to die, but not on his watch.

“Thank God it all worked out,” said Eckerman.

Eckerman learned electrical currents in the U.S. Army reserves, and with a ballerina’s precision he danced with an unwilling partner over the first third rail.

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“So then I also had to go across the second one and I kind of had to man handle her cause there was no other choice so I kind of had to whip her,” said Eckerman. “I look up and see the train is rushing toward us.”

But the train stopped.

He credits his mom, a retired CPD officer, with the instillation of compassion.

“I credit her with raising me right to always help somebody in need,” said Eckerman.

He never made eye contact with the distressed woman who fought until the end, but they did exchange words.

“’I just wanna die today I just wanna die’ and I said, ‘You’re gonna be okay, you’re gonna be okay. You’re not gonna die today.’”

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She did not die and Eckerman says he only hopes she’s okay.

Brad Edwards