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NYC high school student shoved onto subway tracks averts death as train enters station — then attends prom that night

Sarah Arias, 18, and her mother, Jeanette Jimenez, 47, are pictured at their home in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (Emma Seiwell/New York Daily News/TNS)

With a screeching subway train bearing down on her, a gutsy high school senior’s survival instincts instantly kicked in after she was pushed onto the tracks at a Queens station — she sprang to her feet, pulled herself to the platform, and took the next train home.

Later, she went to her prom.

Eighteen-year-old Sarah Arias was on her way home to Brooklyn Monday morning to get her hair done before her graduation party that night when she was shoved off the platform by a woman who had been arguing with someone else, cops said.

The victim was waiting on an elevated J-train platform at the 75th St-Elderts Lane station near Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven at 10:30 a.m. when the suspect shoved her onto the tracks, according to police.

Police arrested Shakeema Wise, and said she had been arguing with an unidentified man when she stormed off and, without provocation, pushed Arias onto the tracks before she fled.

A dazed but determined Sarah pulled herself out of the filthy track bed, and as startled straphangers looked on, climbed back up to the platform.

“It didn’t feel real,” Sarah said a day later. “I just remember I fell and I was on the floor and I saw the train coming ahead because it was approaching the platform. I didn’t spend any time on the floor, I fell, I looked up and then I got up. Adrenaline, everything. It felt fake, it felt like I was in a movie. Thinking about it I feel like it was like a movie.”

If the train didn’t kill her, the fall could have ended her life.

“I fell onto my knees, and my arms, my elbows,” she said. “The tracks are elevated. If I would’ve fallen in a different spot I could’ve been in the street.”

Sarah said she is still trying to understand what happened.

“I walked up the steps,” she recalled. “I was walking on the platform and when I passed the first bench the only woman sitting there, she just looked at me once real quick, I thought nothing of it and then as soon as I passed her she just grabbed me and she pushed me on the tracks.

“As soon as I fell, she walked away,” Sarah said. “It was very split second; I looked up and she was looking back, she was trying to get out of there. I didn’t talk to her but as she was running, I was like, “Why did you do this?’ There’s no reason. She never said a word to me.”

Sarah said some of the passengers on the platform were too shocked to help her.

“But then as soon as I saw the train coming I couldn’t wait for anyone to help me,” she said. “I just got up. I just grabbed on to the [platform], I jumped and I pulled myself up.”

Sarah said she waited for another train, took it one more stop and called her parents.

“I couldn’t understand how that could just happen,” said Sarah’s mom, Jeanette Jiminez, 47. “My daughter just came out of school. Someone just grabbed her and just pushes her? She’s such a quiet person. I know everybody says they have good kids, but I really have good kids. They don’t look for trouble. They don’t start any trouble, and if they can help in any situation they always do. So for this to happen to her it’s just not fair.”

Wise was arrested near the station by officers responding to a 911 call. She was hit with several charges, including reckless endangerment, according to officials. Cops said Wise, 26, lives at a homeless shelter on Eldert Lane in Brooklyn.

Sarah, who had left school early and was on her way to a hair salon when she was attacked, was determined to make it to her prom in Howard Beach, Queens, Monday night despite bruised and scratched knees and pain throughout her body.

“I made it to prom. This was my prom,” Sarah said. “I mean it was kind of hard walking in heels at the prom, but I had to adjust.

“Even though in the beginning, it took a hard toll on me, I couldn’t let it affect the rest of my day.”

Sarah is scheduled to graduate from K659 Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory School on June 27, and has plans to study criminal justice surveillance at John Jay College.

But she’s not sure how she’s going to get to class.

“I think I’ll stick with the bus maybe, “she said. “Or walk.”


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