Metrorail service near the University of Miami was shut down for nearly three hours Tuesday while a barefoot man running on the tracks and trying to jump onto a tree had riders in a panic – with one rider saying he needed to get off the train to get some food because he was diabetic.
“I look up and look outside the window and there was a man with no shoes running,” said Tere Figueras, a former Miami Herald employee who works for Jackson Health Systems. “It looked like he was trying to climb over a wall and onto a tree.”
Police believe the man – who got away and was described as balding, six-feet tall and weighing close to 200 pounds – was the same person who ripped off a Nordstroms at the Village of Merrick Park earlier in the morning.
Coral Gables police said he was last seen running towards the Metrorail station shortly after 11:32 a.m.
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The next three hours, at least according to those stuck on the train, were a mixture of hell and laughter. Power at the Metrorail station was cut off at 12:38 p.m.
“People definitely started getting rowdy in the last half hour,” said Figueras.
One man, frustrated and fatigued, shouted: “I’m a diabetic with narcolepsy. I need a snack and my freedom!”
The man managed to escape even as police helicopters flew overhead. The suspect was last seen wearing denim shorts and a black T-shirt.
Police blamed the escape, at least in part, on the rainy and windy afternoon weather.
It “didn’t help the situation,” said Coral Gables police spokeswoman Lauren Poole.
Poole said there was some good news: All the stolen items were recovered.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coral Gables Police Department at 305-442-1600 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers (305-471-TIPS).
Miami Herald writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.