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New York Post

NYC teen shoved onto subway tracks was heading to get her hair done for prom — and still made it

By Kevin Sheehan, Ronny Reyes,

2023-06-06

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A New York City high schooler who was shoved onto Queens subway tracks by a homeless woman was heading to get her hair done for the prom when she was pushed — but said Tuesday even the terrifying sudden attack wasn’t going to make her miss the big dance.

Sarah Arias, 18, was shoved off the platform at the 75th Street–Elderts Lane J/Z station in Woodhaven Monday around 10:30 a.m. by a woman who had been arguing with a man at the above-ground station.

“It didn’t feel real. I was flying through the air,” Arias told The Post from her Brooklyn home. “It just felt fake.”

The senior at Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory School had been hurrying to get her hair done the morning of the prom when she encountered the alleged attacker, 26-year-old Shemecca Wise.

The man Wise had been arguing with allegedly threatened Arias, the teenager said. When the argument ended, Arias said she tried to move past Wise — who pushed her just as the train was pulling into the station.

“I could see the train, it was about 150 yards away,” Arias recalled.

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Sarah Arias, 18, was getting ready for prom night when she was shoved on the subway tracks and suffered a cut on her left knee.
Daniel Arias

While police initially said good Samaritans helped the teen climb back onto the platform before the train arrived, Arias said no one assisted her — adding that other passengers even backed away as she quickly pulled herself out of harm’s way.

“I have scrapes and bruises on my knees… I was so scared I was crying hysterically,” she said.

Despite the life-threatening event, Arias admitted that the only thing on her mind that day was the prom –and whether she would be able to attend in spite of the investigation and her injured knee.

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Police arrested Shemecca Wise, 26, at a homeless shelter after the teen identified her as the attacker.

“I just kept telling my mom I have to go to prom,” the plucky teen said. “I’m not missing prom. How can you miss prom?”

Cops met Arias in Cypress Hill after she called 911 and took her two blocks from her school to a homeless shelter, where police had arrested Wise.

The teen said she was asked to identify Wise, who she described as looking “like a normal person” before the sudden shove.

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Arias is a senior at the Cypress Hill Collegiate Prep school.
Matthew McDermott

“She didn’t look homeless or crazy or anything. She looked non-threatening,” Arias said.

Wise was held on $25,000 bail at her arraignment on charges of attempted murder and attempted assault in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday night.

Still, Arias noted that the orange juice she was drinking fell through the tracks and onto the street below after she was shoved, saying it was miraculous she didn’t fall through as well.

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Mom Jeanette Jimenez, 47, called on the city to do better to protect students and residents.
Matthew McDermott

Foregoing a hospital visit for a trip to the beauty parlor, the teen said she was able to attend the prom with fellow students being none the wiser as to what had happened to her hours before — as her dress distracted from her bandaged knee.

While the incident didn’t ruin her big night, Arias said it did leave her afraid of riding the subways again.

“I think I’m just going to take the bus from now on,” she said. “If I do have to take the train, I’m just going to go up the stairs and stand with my back to the wall like right there at the top of the stairs.”

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The teen was pushed from behind onto the 75th Street-Elderts Lane station tracks in Woodhaven around 10:30 a.m. on Monday.
CBS New York

Arias’ mother, Jeanette Jimenez, 47, called on the city to do more about the homelessness problem in the subways.

“The mentally ill are walking around amongst us and they are not medicated properly and they’re just crazy,” Jimenez said. “If they’re going to be out they need their medication and they need to be monitored properly. This doesn’t work.”

The attack on her daughter came more than a year after Mayor Eric Adams launched his subway safety initiative to crack down on crime and vagrancy on public transit.

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Arias said she is going to avoid taking the subway again after the terrifying incident.
Matthew McDermott

“This isn’t working. Something has to be done,” she said. “The mayor, the city, has to do something.”

The mother added that it was outrageous for there to be a homeless shelter just two blocks away from a school, fearing its location could put other students at risk amid the uptick in crime.

“You’re hearing about these things on the news and you see that they’re happening more and more often,” she said, “but you never think that you are going to be the one or one of your family members are going to be the ones who suffer — but soon enough they are.”

If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Wise faces up to 25 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

“New Yorkers depend on public transportation to get safely to and from work and school. We cannot allow our subway stations to become places to fear,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement Wednesday.

Wise is due back in court June 8.

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