In hindsight, jumping in front of an oncoming subway train may not have been the smartest move Wesley Autrey has ever made.
"It's all hitting me now," Autrey said Wednesday, the day after he had saved the life of a young man who had fallen down onto the tracks by pushing him into a gap between the rails. "I'm looking, and these trains are coming in now. ... Wow, you did something pretty stupid."
But even knowing that he had a narrow escape from injury or potentially death, the 50-year-old Manhattanite does not regret his choice.
"I did something to save someone's life," Autrey said.
The father of three was being lauded Wednesday for his quick thinking and even quicker reflexes. Waiting for a downtown train on Tuesday, he saw Cameron Hollopeter, a film student, suffering from some kind of medical episode. After stumbling down the platform, Hollopeter, of Littleton, Massachusetts, fell onto the tracks with a train on its way into the station.
Autrey, traveling with his two young daughters, knew he had to do something.
He jumped down to the tracks and rolled with the young man into the trough between the rails as a southbound No. 1 train came into the station.
The train's operator saw someone on the tracks and put the emergency brakes on. Before the train came to a stop, two cars passed over the men - with about 5 centimeters to spare, Autrey said.
Neither man was hit, police said. Authorities said the rescued man was in stable condition later Tuesday at a local hospital.
Autrey, 50, declined medical attention. Onlookers cheered him, hugged him and called him a hero.