A young mother died after falling down a flight of stairs at a Manhattan subway station while holding her 1-year-old daughter in an incident that has ignited debate over accessibility in the city’s public transportation system.
Malaysia Goodson, a daycare worker from Stamford, Connecticut, was carrying her daughter Rhylee and her stroller down the stairs at the 7th Avenue/53rd Street station in Midtown on Monday when she tumbled down the steps, WNBC reports.
Goodson, 22, was found unconscious on the subway platform around 8 p.m. and was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her daughter was not physically injured in the incident.
A source with the New York Police Department told the New York Post that it remains unclear if the victim’s fall was accidental or was the result of a medical episode.
Goodson’s bereaved mother, Tamika Goodson, also told the Post that her daughter “had thyroid [issues]” and may have fainted before she fell.
“I’m just still trying to take it all in,” she added. “I’m trying to see if I’m dreaming. I’m in disbelief.”
Goodson’s death has renewed public outrage over accessibility in the city’s public transportation system, which is severely limited due to a lack of elevators. The New York Times reports that just one-fourth of the MTA’s 472 stations are equipped with elevators, an issue many have long demanded a solution to.
“The lack of accessibility in our subways is literally killing people,” NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted following the incident. “I am heartbroken by this tragedy, and am keeping this family in my thoughts. NYC must do more for families and the disabled.”
The MTA issued the following statement after the accident:
“This is an absolutely heartbreaking incident. While the ultimate cause of the event is being investigated by the MTA, medical examiner, and the NYPD, we know how important it is to improve accessibility in our system. The Fast Forward Plan acknowledges and prioritizes this work as one of four key priorities, and aims to ensure that riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator. This will be accomplished through the addition of up to 50 elevators over the next five years. We believe this is an important issue of practicality and equality, and once accomplished, riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator.”
Goodson’s death remains under investigation and an autopsy will later determine her exact cause of death.
A GoFundMe page has been started to set up an educational fund for her daughter.