Riders briefly trapped in Cheverly station
From the archives: It's 1 a.m. and you're trapped in a Metro station
Original post: Monday was a pretty strange day for Denise Sudell. She started by accidentally leaving her new suit jacket on the Metro in the morning. Then her arm got stuck in the elevator door at her office building. But at the end of her commute home after a very long day, there was one quirk left to face: she was locked inside a Metro station.
Sudell had taken the Orange Line train heading to New Carrolton. When she got off at the Cheverly station at about 12:50 a.m., she and another commuter discovered that the train manager had already locked up for the night -- before the last train had dropped off its final passengers.
"I was more or less nonplussed," said Sudell, 53, a senior policy adviser at the Labor Department. "I've lived in the DC area for over 20 years, and I've never encountered this before."
She tried to call the Metro number, but a series of automated prompts eventually led to a message telling her to call back during normal business hours. She called 911, but her fellow passenger was already on the phone with the Prince George's County police. So Sudell handled it a different way: she took out her iPhone and posted the news to Facebook.
"It was extremely helpful to have my smartphone," she said. "If this had been 10 years ago, I think I would have been a lot more freaked out, because I was looking around the station and realizing there are no phones there."
A man in a Metro T-shirt and hat came up from the station platform below at about 1:15 a.m. and let them out.
"He said several times, 'The station manager is going to be taking an unexpected vacation,'" she said. (UPDATE at 10:25 a.m: Sudell wasn't sure how the man learned of the situation. He told them he had been dispatched by "central downtown.")
She has no second thoughts about taking the train to work this morning.
"This was a fluke," she said. "I cannot imagine what that station manager could have been thinking."
Sudell said she'd have been more freaked out had the train been underground. The main issue for her was how hot it was on the mezzanine. As it is, she seemed pretty nonchalant recalling it several hours later.
"It just seemed like, 'Oh golly, here we are, another Washington story,'" she said.
A Metro spokeswoman said this morning that the agency would review the matter and get back to The Post today with more details.
-- Mark Berman
June 30, Noon Update: D.C.'s Fox5 aired this interview with Denise Sudell.
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