Man accused of pushing woman into train’s path was previously banned from using service

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

The Georgia man accused of pushing a Milwaukee woman into the path of an oncoming train was previously banned from MARTA, Atlanta's train service, after damaging a bus, according to a police report released late Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

Nearly four months before Christopher Patrick Brooklin allegedly pushed Sue Wenszell from the platform of the Midtown station, he threw a glass bottle at a parked MARTA bus, a report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution states.

On April 29, a MARTA officer on patrol in the area of Alabama and Broad streets watched Brooklin throw the bottle at the bus, shattering a passenger side window, according to police. A woman on the bus also saw Brooklin toss the bottle, she told the officer.

No one was injured, but the damage to the bus cost an estimated $6,000, the report states.

Brooklin, who was homeless at the time, was arrested and charged with criminal damage to property in the second degree. He was also given a 60-day suspension from riding MARTA, effective from May 30 to July 29, the police report states.

“If he entered the system during that time frame and did not commit an offense, he would not go to jail because he would not have drawn attention to himself,” Cpl. Brian Lauda with MARTA police said Wednesday. “However, if an officer observed him violating a law on MARTA property and checked his information, he would be arrested for criminal trespass.”

Brooklin was released from jail on a signature bond less than 24 hours later. A signature bond requires only the signature of a defendant rather than cash to ensure they will return to future court hearings on the charge. But when Brooklin failed to show up in court on the appointed date, a pre-trial bench warrant was issued, records show. On June 21, he was re-arrested and remained in the Fulton County jail until Aug. 14, when he was again released on a signature bond, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Five days later on Aug. 19, Brooklin allegedly pushed a woman he didn’t know from a MARTA train platform and into the path of an arriving train, witnesses told police. The MARTA police report of that incident said Brooklin “did not seem to understand what was being asked of him regarding the incident” and that he appears to have “some diminished mental capacity.”

>> Related: Woman who saved mother from train released from Atlanta hospital

Sue Wenszell and five of her daughters were visiting Atlanta from Milwaukee for a long weekend of shopping and sightseeing. On the final day of the trip, the women planned to take MARTA back to their hotel before catching a flight home.

But when a man, later identified as Brooklin, pushed Wenszell, one of her daughters jumped off the platform to save her. Lying on top of her mother, Katie Wenszell pushed them both between the tracks, witnesses told police, allowing the train to pass over them.

Katie Wenszell’s heroics likely saved her mother’s life, her father said days after the incident. But while Sue Wenszell sustained a concussion and broken bones in her elbow and wrist, Katie Wenszell’s injuries were more serious and left her in critical condition.

“Katie took the brunt of it all,” her father told WSB Radio. “She was not only struck, but also dragged.”

Wenszell’s sisters believe the backpack she was wearing got caught on the train and it dragged her, crushing her right foot and severing two toes. Katie was knocked unconscious, and at the hospital, doctors found she had swelling on her brain, a punctured lung and shattered bones in her shoulder. At least eight bones in her face were also shattered or fractured, her father said.

The 28-year-old was previously in a medically-induced coma until she recovered enough to be transported, Katie's family said. On Monday, Paratech Ambulance Service drove Katie Wenszell from Atlanta to Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, the ambulance company posted on its Facebook page.

"As a family-owned service, this complimentary transport falls in line with our company philosophy to treat all patients like family — with care, dignity and professional skill," Paratech posted online. "Katie's brother, Dan, works for Paratech as a critical care paramedic, so this is truly family helping family in their time of need."

An online Go Fund Me page was created to assist the family with medical costs.

About the Author