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New York Post – New York, N.Y.

Date: Jun 25, 2006


Call him the luckiest man in New York.

In a shocking episode, a drunken 21-year-old Penn State student fell onto the third rail in Union Square Station early yesterday – but miraculously lived to tell the tale.

Steven Waddell, of Fairfield, N.J., told The Post from his bed at St. Vincent’s Hospital yesterday evening that he doesn’t remember much, but knows he’s fortunate to be alive.

“I feel like I should be dead now,” he said. “I really didn’t feel like dying that day, I guess.”

Despite lying on the rail for more than two minutes, Waddell only suffered burns to his right elbow and thumb.

“It paralyzed me right away. I tried to pull away from it, but your body doesn’t let you,” he recalled. “I thought I went to hell. It felt like my body was being literally torn apart.”

Before the incident, Waddell had been out for a night of high- voltage drinking with some friends from high school at a bar on Lafayette Street.

Around 2:30 a.m., he and a pal called it quits and walked to the N and R platform to catch the train to his father’s Manhattan apartment.

Woozy with drink, the college senior leaned over the platform’s edge to see if a train was coming and lost his footing, tumbling into the tracks and onto the third rail – which was coursing with 600 volts of electricity.

As his buddy ran to get help, Waddell passed out and lay on the track for more than two minutes before authorities were able to pry him free.

Next thing he knew, he was in the emergency room at St. Vincent’s.

Doctors said it was “a miracle he lived,” said the English major’s father, Mark Waddell, a Manhattan attorney.

“One of the paramedics said ‘Bet on this kid. He is lucky,’ ” the elder Waddell said. “It’s really a miracle he made it. He’s really lucky.”

Doctors planned to keep the college student, who is working at a warehouse for the summer, in the hospital for at least another day to make sure no blood clots formed and that he didn’t suffer any heart damage.

Transit officials recommend that straphangers always remain several feet away from the edge of the platform.

Waddell said the gravity of the incident hasn’t entirely sunk in yet, but he’s learned at least one lesson:

“I’ll probably really slow down on drinking now.”

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About the Author

Steven Waddell
I am a survivor, a health coach, a martial artist and more.


  1. Wow…what an experience. You were certainly being watched over :3

    • Steven Waddell | January 30, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Reply

      Thanks Katelon! I figured people might want to read the original story about the accident. This article still makes me chuckle though. The reporter got me good: “A night of electrified drinking” :)

      • What a scary experience and I’m sure your journey back to health wasn’t easy.

      • Steven Waddell | January 31, 2015 at 12:17 AM |

        It was hard, but at least it gave me a sense of purpose. I was wondering around aimlessly for a while there, and probably would have ended doing something I really wasn’t happy with!

      • I can relate. I fell though a hole in the floor of a store in 1972, hitting my head on the floor first, passing out, then falling some more, in pain for years. Between that and growing up very ill, in hospitals and emergency rooms, it led me to my career.

      • Steven Waddell | January 31, 2015 at 12:25 AM |

        Some people pick their careers other people have their careers chosen for them.

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