By NICOLE BODE, KERRY BURKE,
PETE DONOHUE and ROBERT F. MOORE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Diving onto subway tracks, a Harlem father saved the life of a stranger yesterday when he pinned the flailing man between the rails just seconds before a 370-ton train roared over their entwined bodies.
"Please, sir, don't move," Wesley Autrey, 50, said as he shoved his body against Cameron Hollopeter, who had tumbled off the platform after suffering a seizure. "If you move, one of us is going to lose a leg or die."
The men, who were jammed face-to-face in a 2-foot depression between the tracks, were unharmed by the No. 1 train that screamed over them, just inches away.
"It's miraculous," Hollopeter's grandfather Jeff Friedman, 55, said later. "He's sedated, but the doctor said he's going to be okay."
Autrey, a construction worker, was having an otherwise ordinary afternoon when he passed through the turnstiles at W.137th St. and Broadway about 12:45 p.m. He was with his daughters, Shuqui, 6, and Syshe, 4, whom he planned to drop off with their mother at Times Square.
The military veteran first noticed Hollopeter, a 20-year-old film student, when he collapsed to the platform after the seizure. Autrey said he put a pen in the man's mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue as two women also ran to his aid.
The convulsions subsided and Hollopeter climbed to his feet - but he then staggered and fell off the downtown platform.
"I had a split-second decision to make," Autrey said. "Do I let the train run him over and hear my daughters screaming and see the blood? Or do I jump in?"
Knowing a train was likely to pull into the station at any moment, Autrey tried to pull Hollopeter up. But the fallen man started fighting his rescuer, knocking him dangerously close to the third rail and its deadly 600 volts.
Autrey told the Daily News that after only a few seconds, he saw the lights on the front of the No. 1 train bearing down on him and pushed the man into the trough.
"He was fighting and pushing against me, so I laid on top of him," Autrey said. "The train was probably 2 inches off my back."
Transit officials said the train operator reported to the rail control center that he saw a person on the roadbed upon entering the station. He made an emergency stop and found the men under the second car of the 10-car train.
"Am I dead?" Hollopeter asked, according to the man who saved his life. "Am I dead?"
"I said, 'No, we're under the train,'" Autrey recalled.
"'You're touching me. You feel me touching you? We're very much alive.'"
Autrey, who was trapped under the train for 20 minutes before workers turned off the power, said he could hear his daughters screaming.
"My daddy!" they hollered. "My daddy!"
Witnesses said Autrey began shouting at straphangers to be quiet so he could pass a message to his kids. The platform grew silent.
"Let my daughters know that I'm okay and that the man is okay!" he shouted, as onlookers broke into applause.
After the power was turned off, Autrey crawled to safety and used a step on the back of one of the subway cars to climb to safety. He emerged with grime on his right sleeve, hip and back. He said a grease stain on his hat came from being grazed by the bottom of the train.
"I thought he was going to get hit by the train," Shuqui said of her dad. "I thought he was going to be dead, but he's alive."
FDNY officials said firefighters helped pull Hollopeter up before paramedics took him to St.Luke's Hospital. Autrey was treated at the scene and then greeted by another round of applause and slaps on the back before he went to visit Hollopeter.
Hollopeter, of Harvard, Mass., is an aspiring director and a freshman at the New York Film Academy. His grandfather wasn't aware of an existing medical problem that resulted in the seizure, he said.
"On behalf of the whole family, I want to say thank you," Friedman said of Autrey. "I want to shake his hand."
Friedman was still stunned hours after the accident.
"For someone who got run over by a train, he looks pretty good," he said of his grandson. "He's a talented writer, but even he couldn't write the screenplay any better."