Man who fell on tracks
can keep guide dog
A blind man who fainted and fell onto Bronx subway tracks with his guide dog will be able to keep his canine companion even after the black Labrador retriever retires next year -- thanks to an anonymous donor.
In an emotional news conference Wednesday, Cecil Williams told reporters at St. Luke's hospital in Manhattan that the donor will pay for his guide dog Orlando's lifelong upkeep and medical bills. It means Williams can keep his trusted friend, whom he has had since 2006, as a pet.
"Thank you everybody for showing your humanity and good will," Williams, 61, said. He was flanked by the police officer who pulled him from beneath the train car and the emergency room doctor who treated him.
"You are the angels . . . the miracle angels that brought my best buddy and pal to me," said the Brooklyn man. "This is a time to rejoice."
Orlando will retire and be able to live with Williams, who will get a new guide dog from the Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Westchester County.
On Tuesday morning, Williams, who is diabetic, said he became unconscious when his sugar levels "had gotten irregular" and his blood pressure "got the best of me."
He said he fell onto the tracks with Orlando stepping in front of him to keep him from falling, just as a train was pulling into the station. Two train cars rolled over both of them.
When NYPD Officer Anthony Duncan arrived on the platform, he saw Williams facedown on the tracks. "I thought he was dead. I started screaming, asking him if he was OK. He lifted his head and took a breath," said the 17-year police officer and father of four.
Duncan said he jumped onto the tracks and started to pull Williams from underneath the train. "It was tight and the third rail was right there. I told him to keep his arms and legs straight." A transit worker lifted Orlando onto the platform, Duncan said.
"I couldn't believe the dog was alive," Duncan said. "It's very emotional. I couldn't even sleep last night."
Williams, who lost his eyesight in 1995, said he paired up with Orlando because they are alike in personalities. "He's a gentle soul. I am too. I don't like violence. We are similar in that way."
Bernie Goetz fighting
A vigilante who shot four panhandling youths on a subway car in 1984 is fighting low-level drug charges.
Bernie Goetz was arrested last month on misdemeanor drug charges. Police said he was nabbed in a sting selling $30 worth of marijuana to an undercover officer. Manhattan prosecutors offered him 10 days of community service Wednesday to resolve the case.
Goetz admitted outside court he had the drugs, but he said he is fighting the charges because he was coerced into taking money for the pot and because police are too aggressive.
Goetz was cleared of attempted murder but convicted of weapons charges after the 1984 shooting. He spent 250 days in jail. He said the four youths had sharpened screwdrivers and were trying to mug him. -- AP