Victim in fatal subway gang attack plans suit against NYC transit authority


A Bronx man who was saved by a good Samaritan during an alleged gang assault plans to sue the city transit authority over the harrowing ordeal — that left his “angel” fatally struck by a train.

Roland Hueston, 36, was killed by an oncoming D train after saving Noel Soto, who was knocked unconscious when he was allegedly thrown onto the tracks by a group of gang members early on New Year’s Day in the Bronx.

“He didn’t even know me,” Soto told The Post through tears, in an exclusive interview last week. “He gave his life to save mine.”

“He didn’t have anything to do with what was happening to me. He’s an angel. I still don’t believe that I’m here.”

Soto had been on the platform inside the Fordham Road station blowing a horn to celebrate the new year when he claims he was attacked by the group of men who had asked him to stop making noise.

They “started choking me, they threw me on the floor, they started kicking me,” Soto recalled. “Then, they threw me on the track.”

The 39-year-old Bronx man said he doesn’t have any memory of what happened afterward because the fall knocked him out. He awoke in the hospital hours later.

Suspects.
The group of suspected gang members allegedly started choking and kicking Noel Soto before throwing him on the train tracks.
NYPD

The incident left Soto with a “fracture and dislocation of the right elbow,” according to a notice of claim that Soto filed against the New York City Transit Authority on Tuesday.

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Notices of claim are legal precursors required before filing a lawsuit against a government agency.

Soto’s legal notice alleges that the transit authority “failed to summon emergency assistance” and that changes to the station made it less safe, including installing less restrictive turnstiles that made it easy for the assailants to jump.

Roland Hueston.
Roland Hueston reportedly jumped down onto the tracks to rescue Noel Soto.
Facebook/Virgorious9

The transit authority modified the station including “removal of existing turnstiles and replacing them with turnstiles that facilitate fare evasion, removal of personnel booths, removal of personnel, and removal of cameras, alarms, and other security measures,” the notice alleges.

The claim also says that there should be barriers in place that prevent people from falling onto the tracks.

“The assault upon the claimant, the claimant’s fall to the subway tracks, and resultant injuries therefrom were the foreseeable consequence of the above described acts of negligence, carelessness, recklessness, and breach of special duty,” the legal notice charges.

His claim is seeking at least $500,000 in damages.

Soto had to undergo surgery to place a metal plate and screws in his elbow and he will have to undergo a second surgery in a few months to remove the hardware, he told The Post.

He’s also “suffered psychological and emotional trauma resulting from the occurrence” the claim says.

“I can’t sleep. I cry every night thinking about what happened to the guy and what happened to me,” said Soto, who hasn’t returned to work and only leaves his home to go to the hospital.

Noel Soto after the attack.
Noel Soto documented his injuries immediately following the attack.
Gregory P. Mango

“I’m petrified, I’m scared to go outside, I can’t be around anybody. Because of that day, I don’t trust anybody and I think it’s going to happen to me again … I only feel comfortable with my family and people I know.”

All of this has kept Soto out of his job – as a porter for a residential building in White Plains – since the incident, he said. Soto said even though he’s on medical leave, he is still waiting to get paid for his time off of work.

“This terrible incident and my client’s serious injuries could and should have been prevented by the New York City Transit Authority, and we will fight to hold them accountable,” Soto’s lawyer Daniel Smyth, of firm Sutton & Smyth LLP, told The Post.

MTA spokesman Eugene Resnick said, “We are unable to comment on pending litigation.”

Jonathan Aponte, 16, and Braulio Garcia, 17, were arrested on Jan. 14 in connection with Hueston’s death and charged with murder, manslaughter, robbery, gang assault and other crimes.

Aponte told police that he and his friends “politely” asked Soto to stop blowing the horn and claimed that he saw a gun in a fanny pack that Soto was wearing, prompting them to chase Soto down and hold him to the ground before grabbing the fanny pack and throwing it on the platform, according to a criminal complaint.

Noel Soto.
The attack left Noel Soto with a fracture and dislocation of the right elbow.
Matthew McDermott

Soto denied having a gun that day, adding that he’d never owned or even touched a firearm before.

“I’ve never owned a weapon, never had a weapon and I’ve never even touched a gun before,” Soto said. “If I had something on me, I would have protected myself and that never would have happened to me.”

And when Soto got his fanny pack back when he was released from the hospital, he said it was “completely empty.”

Noel Soto.
Noel Soto alleges that the transit authority “failed to summon emergency assistance” and that changes to the station made it less safe.
Matthew McDermott

Soto said he also testified before a grand jury about not having a gun in the subway that night.

Soto rebutted claims by cops that he was drunk during the incident and corrected a misstatement by Hueston’s cousin on Facebook that Soto and Hueston had been friends.

“I never knew the guy,” Soto said.

Roland Hueston.
“He gave his life to save mine…He’s an angel,” Noel Soto said of Roland Hueston.
Facebook/Virgorious9

“I feel sorry for his family. I can’t imagine what they are going through,” he added.

Aponte’s criminal defense lawyer, Walter Fields, told The Post his client is innocent.

“It’s unfortunate that he got swept up in this unfortunate incident but he’s innocent,” Fields said.

Garcia’s lawyer did not return a request for comment.



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