SECAUCUS, N.J. --New Jersey Transit police Officer Victor Ortiz took a break from his family vacation, and in an exclusive interview with ABC7 sister station WABC-TV, talked about what he did on Friday morning.
The 16-year veteran got a call at Secaucus Junction about an agitated passenger on the train. He met the man on the platform.
"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 said.
The train would soon be coming through. Ortiz, 41, radioed base and followed the man. He had no choice, jumped down and was walking next to the man on the tracks.
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(Video courtesy NJ Transit)
"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 said.
Ortiz, who's married with a 13-year-old daughter, wasn't giving up. He had one handcuff on the man - meanwhile, the train was still coming.
"He said 'I just want to die, I just want to die, I just want to die', I said no, I'm not going to let you die," Ortiz said.
Ortiz added there was an instance where the man pulled him in.
"And at that point I said to myself, 'I'm going to let go, because this guy's gonna take me with him'," he said.
Ortiz then pulled the man again just as the train was coming.
Once the man was in custody, he was given medication, and had a chance to talk to Ortiz. He usually works the night shift and goes home at 7 a.m., but because of staffing issues he stayed late that day.