A New Jersey Transit police officer is being hailed as a hero for pulling a man from train tracks in northern New Jersey last week.
Authorities say Officer Victor Ortiz says he followed the agitated man he saw exiting a train at Secaucus Junction as the man jumped onto the tracks.
"He said 'no, I'm not going to jail, I'm not going to jail', and he jumped down into the pit of Track A," Ortiz told WABC-TV.
"He decides to, you know, kneel down onto the tracks, knee-first, then his arms...I looked to see if there was a train coming, and probably about a half mile up, I saw the lights from the train coming," Ortiz adds.
He grabbed the man who kept saying "I just want to die,"
Ortiz eventually was able to pull him off the tracks just as the train was coming into the station.
“Without regard for his own safety, Officer Ortiz acted quickly and heroically and was able to pull a man from the train tracks just seconds before a train passed through,” the N.J. Transit police union said in a statement. “We commend Officer Ortiz for his bravery and heroism.”
The officer had been with the department for 16 years.
“NJ Transit could not be more proud of Victor Ortiz and of the New Jersey Transit Police Department and we hope this serves as a stark reminder of what these men and women do ever single day to keep us safe throughout this state,” the agency said in a statement.