After leaving his job at a nonprofit organization for the day, he planned to stop by a jewelry repair shop, catch a Red Line train at the Friendship Heights station and then head home to Petworth, said Ondina Robinson, 75.
Three hours later, she received a call from Suburban Hospital, in Bethesda. Her son had been in an accident and had head and foot injuries. Could she come to the hospital soon?
Robinson had become the eighth passenger this year struck by a Metro train, the transit authority said. That’s more than the seven who were struck in all of last year, according to Metro’s records. Twelve riders were hit by trains in 2009, including a single accident in which a blind Rockville man tumbled from the platform at Gallery Place.
“By all indications, this appears to be an unfortunate accident,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. Officially, the Robinson case was still under investigation, he said.
Robinson’s family thinks he might have had a severe seizure while standing on the platform at Friendship Heights and then fell onto the tracks.
“I was shocked,” said his father, Sherman Robinson. “I was fearful for the present and the future. My fear was, ‘Will he recover, and what will become of his quality of life?’ ”
A video from the station shows that “while on the track,” Robinson was in “distress and made several attempts to recover from the fall but was unsuccessful,” Stessel said. The train operator told Metro investigators that she “activated the mushroom,” a button on the console in the operator’s cab that applies the emergency brake, but the train could not stop in time, he said.
Robinson was conscious when first responders arrived, but his right foot had been severed, and he was suffering bleeding in the brain, according to a doctors’ report.
He was found with two items he often wears: a silver “Superman” ring and his medical ID bracelet.
Robinson underwent surgery to amputate part of his right leg, his family said. Doctors also repaired his broken right wrist. On Wednesday, he was listed in critical but stable condition, his family said.
His family has stayed by his bedside for up to six hours a day. They call his name, pray with him and tell jokes in hopes he’ll hear them in the depths of his medically induced coma.
“We ask him, ‘Victor, do you want a Big Mac?’ ” said his twin sister, Victoria Dancy of Upper Marlboro.
Last Wednesday, he responded to commands from doctors to move his fingers and open his eyes. The next day, he opened his eyes slightly and looked toward his mother as she called his name.
“That’s always encouraging for us,” Dancy said. “It’s an indication that he’s still here with us.”
Her own superhero
Robinson, an avid collector of toy cars, key chains, puzzles, T-shirts, baseball hats and trains, has regularly participated in the Special Olympics since middle school, his family said. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in the District and works for Quality Trust for Individuals With Disabilities as an advocacy outreach specialist.