Man Saves Man from Fall on MARTA Tracks

A man was on the tracks at Five Points Station, convulsing from the deadly electric currents there, when Clifton said he pulled him to safety. Another rider took footage of the rescue.

Clifton was on his way to a part-time job at a church, thinking he was late for his train, when he heard a noise to his right. People started screaming.

Clifton said he started to jump down to help the man, but another passenger screamed at Clifton that he’d be shocked, too.

“I was standing or squatting on the platform and he was clearly dazed and shaking and convulsing and couldn’t hear anything probably, or that was my thinking," Clifton said. "Then he stopped convulsing but he was extremely dazed and slow."

Another passenger yelled at the man to get up off the tracks, and Clifton started yelling, too.

"He starts to move a little bit and then he has serious shocks, like where it’s flashing up and down his body," Clifton said. "I was seeing flashes between his arm and body, sparks of electricity. ... But that was actually a good thing. It makes him realize, like, ‘OK, this is not a good place to be, I need to get out of here.' At that point he gets up on his elbow and lifts up his arm to me.”

Clifton said he grabbed the man's arm, felt “five or six successive jolts” coming from the man through his own arm, but got him onto the platform. The man apparently stepped on the cover of the deadly electrified rail; had he touched the rail under it, he and Clifton possibly could have been killed.

Clifton later contacted The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to tell his story. A MARTA spokeswoman, Cara Hodgson, confirmed there was an incident and said the man on the tracks, Wasley Garrett, was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital.

Witnesses told MARTA police that Garrett had tried to jump to the next platform but fell, according to the police report. Garrett was charged with obstructing operations, reckless conduct and public drunkenness. Garrett could not be reached for comment.

Clifton moved to Atlanta last year with his wife, a graduate student at Emory University. He left a job in Buffalo, N.Y., as director of a small nonprofit, and in Atlanta is working several part-time jobs.