Susan Wenszell didn’t know who shoved her off a passenger platform at an Atlanta subway station. And, unconscious after she fell onto the tracks, she was unaware a train was rolling right at her.
But, Susan’s 28-year-old daughter, Katie, leaped down to rescue her.
“She pulled me in between the two rails, and the train rolled over me,” Susan, 57, told CNN. “All of my injuries came from just being pushed.”
The mother suffered a concussion and fractures to her elbow and wrist. But, her daughter, Katie, did not fare, as well.
“She was caught and beaten between the railroad tracks and the undercarriage of the vehicle,” Katie’s father, Jerry Wenszell, told WITI in Milwaukee.
Katie had facial injuries, broken ribs, a shattered shoulder and crushed foot. The train severed two of her toes.
It started as a girls’ trip
Susan and her five daughters were wrapping up their visit to the Georgia city from Milwaukee, part of an annual girls’ trip.
“Sunday was our last day,” she said of the warm, August morning in the MARTA rail station. “We had gotten to see everything we came for.”
One of Susan’s daughters first noticed a man sprinting down the stairs.
“We just thought he was running to catch the train,” the mother said. “I remember being pushed. That’s all I remember. The rest of it is pretty blurry.”
Police arrested Christopher Brooklin, 28, at the scene. He faces aggravated assault and battery charges in a public transit station.
“Initially, you want justice. I don’t want any of his family to have to deal with this,” Susan said. “I don’t want people to not go to Atlanta because of this tragedy.”
Dream deferred of teaching in China
Katie recently earned a master’s degree in education and planned to teach for a year in Beijing. But, that dream is now on hold.
“She’s out of trauma ICU but will have a much longer recovery,” her mom told CNN, adding she “wishes Katie would not have risked her life.”
Still, Susan isn’t surprised by her daughter’s actions.
“The bond to me – mother to child – is very strong. As a mother, you never want to see your child injured,” she said.
Susan’s daughter has a long road ahead, and the family has a lot to process. But, a GoFundMe account is collecting financial support for her medical bills, and people’s concern and encouragement have poured in.
“It’s been phenomenal that goodness oversees the evil in the darkness my family has experienced,” she said.