A distraught man tried to jump in front of a train at the North Berkeley BART station Sunday night, the day after another man tried to commit suicide in the same station, authorities said.
According to the BART police, a man who was “distraught over dating relationship issues” jumped onto the tracks as a train entered the station at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Michael Mighetto Hoefling said he was getting off a train when he heard a man yelling loudly.
“Most of the people going home exited, and just as I was about to [leave] I went back down the stairs,” he said via email. Someone was screaming, and “yelling ‘a man is on the tracks.’ It was a horrific sound.”
Hoefling recorded the aftermath of the incident, mostly by audio, as the man was being pulled off the tracks by a passer-by. He described the harrowing scene to Berkeleyside.
No BART staffers were initially around, Hoefling said. But there was a train approaching, marked as a passing train that did not intend to stop.
“When I walked downstairs, a man was walking on the track with his hands up and out to the side as if he welcomed the train to hit him,” wrote Hoefling. “He was literally walking into the light.”
He said the train engineer managed to stop about 20 feet in front of the man on the tracks.
The man who had been yelling about the person on the tracks then pulled the distraught man up and onto the floor, said Hoefling: “After that moment I left. My heart was beating because I almost witnessed a man’s death, it was really that close.”
According to a statement released by BART, the operator managed to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting the man on the tracks.
“Responding officers contacted the subject and determined he was in need of a psychiatric evaluation. Paramedics then transported the subject to a local hospital for the evaluation,” according to BART.
The day before, another man had lain down on the tracks at the same station as a Fremont-bound train arrived.
Authorities initially were unable to find him, and had to uncouple the train to locate and rescue him. He was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland with moderate injuries. That man, too, ultimately was sent for a mental health evaluation.
Alameda County maintains a website devoted to confidential mental health crisis support services. The city of Berkeley also has its own mental health services division. In an emergency, however, dial 911 for help.
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