Zachery Nazario, a 15-year-old boy, died on Monday, February 20th, after hitting his head against a beam while subway surfing. Following his collision with the beam, Nazario fell onto train tracks and was run over by a train. The tragic incident occurred just before 7 pm on the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. Nazario was allegedly standing on top of a J train that was heading for Manhattan when the incident occurred.
An Avoidable Tragedy
“As the train was coming from Brooklyn, there was a beam…and he got distracted or he looked to the other side — the next thing you know, he was hit and thrown to the tracks, and he was run over,” said the boy’s mother, Norma Nazario. “I don’t wish this to any mother.”
A GoFundMe page was created to help with Zachery’s funeral.
Mayor Eric Adams shared words of sympathy over the tragedy. “This was a really terrible, tragic incident of this young man and our team is going to do a host of things to bring awareness, to speak with other young people,” said Mayor Adams.
Nazario’s death comes after the death of another 15-year-old who fell onto train tracks, made contact with the electrified third rail, and died on December 2nd, 2022.
At the time of the incident in December, New York City Transit President Richard Davey gave a stern warning, regarding subway surfing.
“Riding on top of subway cars is reckless, dumb and dangerous, frequently leading to tragedy for the person, family and friends,” Davey had said. “We implore parents to speak with their children about what can seem like a game but obviously is not.”
“We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to ride on the outside of trains,” Davey said in a written statement. “We implore other families to speak with their children on the real dangers of what can seem like a thrill, but is often deadly.”
Subway surfing, while prevalent in the past, has seen a steady rise in occurrences over the past few years. The number of these incidents has increased significantly, with 928 reports of subway surfing incidents in 2022. These are significantly higher numbers than those seen in 2021 (206) and 2020 (199).
The popularity of subway surfing has been attributed to several of its participants posting their videos engaging in the dangerous activity on social media.
“We’ve made approaches to some of the social media companies and we are going to renew it again,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Chair and CEO. “This is something nobody wants to see. A 15-year-old kid, just breaks your heart. We’ve got to keep pushing. Social media companies, it’s not news to anybody, are not always focused on discouraging reckless behavior.”