Saturday, 2:15 PM
Sudbury 19-year-old hailed as rescuer in Green Line crash
Papapietro meeting with Perry today.
By David Abel and James Vaznis, Globe Staff
A 19-year-old Sudbury man who is an intern with the Red Sox is being praised today for comforting a woman who was trapped in the twisted wreckage of a trolley during Wednesday's crash on the Green Line in Newton.
Ben Papapietro, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, is credited with helping Min Perry, 37, of Wellesley, who was sitting in the seat behind trolley driver Terrese Edmonds, the lone fatality in the crash.
Papapietro can be heard comforting Perry on a 911 tape released today by the MBTA Transit Police.
"You're fine. You're going to be fine, I promise," Papapietro tells Perry.
Papapietro said he was in the rear car of the two-car trolley that slammed into the back of another trolley. He said he ran out, but heard screaming and ran back in.
"I didn't want her to die. It was the most helpless feeling in my life," he said today in an interview at Transit Police headquarters.
"He kept saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me, stay with me,'" Min Perry told the Globe yesterday from her room at Boston Medical Center.
With a brush fire breaking out near the train, Perry said, Papapietro offered her a cotton shirt to cover her mouth. All the other passengers had left the train, she said.
"He was basically risking his own life," she said. "You had smoke and fire behind me."
The 911 tape appears to capture the moment. Papapietro says, "Breathe through it. OK, deep breaths for me. OK? Deep breaths."
Perry can also be heard thanking Papapietro and asking where the firemen are.
"You on the trolley?" the dispatcher asks.
"Yeah, I'm on the train right now," Papapietro responds.
"You did a good job, pal," the gruff dispatcher's voice says.
"Thank you very much, sir," Papapietro replies.
Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan praised Papapietro. "I think we cloud the definition of hero today. But under any definition, he's a hero," MacMillan said.
It took firefighters about 20 minutes and several attempts to free Perry. They ultimately used a special excavation device to pry open the crumpled car enough to pull her out. Perry's sneakers were soaked with blood when she was pulled out. She remains hospitalized with a broken ankle.
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