Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Subway-attack victim who broke neck sues MTA, suspect

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A Brooklyn woman who fractured her neck in a random subway attack last year has filed suit against her alleged assailant and the MTA, new court papers show.

Ruth Leon Villegas, 56, says in the Manhattan Supreme Court suit that she was violently shoved by Matthew Montanez while waiting for the F train at the West Fourth Street station on Greenwich Village in December.

The push caused her to hit a pillar and fall to the ground on the platform while Montanez and onlookers watched and did nothing despite her pleas for help, she has said.

The plaintiff says in her suit that the transit agency was negligent for not providing better supervision of the subway platform.

She also is suing Montanez, claiming he “maliciously attacked” her in the Dec. 14 incident, “causing serious and permanent injuries,” according to the court papers.

She claims she has been forced to pay for medical bills because of her injuries and “will continue to be rendered unable to perform her normal activities,” the filing says.

Leon Villegas is suing for unspecified damages.

“The MTA intends to vigorously defend against this lawsuit, which appears to be without merit,” said agency rep Aaron Donovan.

Just days after the attack, Leon Villegas described how she had been waiting for a train when she noticed Montanez staring at people and singing loudly, leading her to inch away from him.

“I was getting on the train, and he ran towards me and pushed me so hard, I hit the pillar and fell to the ground,” she said at the time. “Blood was gushing from my head, and I felt like I was going to faint.”

Leon Villegas fractured her neck after she was shoved by Matthew Montanez while waiting for her train.
Leon Villegas fractured her neck after she was shoved by Matthew Montanez while waiting for her train.
Angel Chevrestt

She said Montanez then just watched her as she struggled on the ground and bystanders took pictures of her without giving her any assistance.

She was eventually taken to the hospital, where she needed stitches for her head and a brace for her broken neck.

Montanez was charged with assault and reckless endangerment, to which he pleaded not guilty. He remains in jail on $50,000 bail, court records show.

Montanez allegedly has mental health issues — including suffering from hearing voices — and has a history of going off his medications, law enforcement sources said at the time.

His lawyer declined to comment.

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