Family tries to cope after mother falls to her death carrying stroller down midtown subway stairs

MIDTOWN, Manhattan -- A baby is without her mother, and a family is in mourning after a woman carrying her baby in a stroller fell down the stairs in a subway station and died Monday night.

The child sustained minor injuries.

Malaysia Goodson, 22, had already climbed down five flights of stairs to the final staircase leading to the uptown B, D, and E platform at the 7th Avenue subway station just before 8 p.m. Monday. She'd carried her 18-month-old in her stroller, but fell at the top of the last staircase, which consists of two separate flights of stairs.

Goodson, who's originally from the Bronx, but now lives with her mother in Stamford, Connecticut, apparently shielded the stroller as she crashed to the bottom of the last flight of stairs. Goodson died after the impact.

Medics rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she passed away. The baby, named Rhylee, was treated at the scene, and was in good condition.

Now, Goodson's family tries to cope with the loss, even as they acknowledge that they'll have to be even more responsible for raising her toddler.

"I can't think straight, I'll be honest with you," said Dieshe Goodson, 23, Malaysia's brother, in front of their home in Stamford Tuesday morning. "I don't know what to do."

He told PIX11 News that even though his sister had been the youngest of four children, she'd played the role of a caretaker for all of them, including him, and including her daughter, Rhylee.

"She was protective of her family, period," her brother said.

"You could tell she was very protective," he continued. "She died trying to protect her baby."

The 7th Avenue station, which runs from 7th Avenue to Broadway, along 53rd Street, is like 75 percent of all New York City Transit subway stations: it has no elevator. Its only escalators are set to go up almost all of the time.

Mayor Bill De Blasio tweeted, in part, "The subway system is not accessible for everyone. That's an environment the MTA should not allow."

The MTA released a statement calling the incident "absolutely heartbreaking."

“While the ultimate cause of the event is being investigated by the MTA, medical examiner, and the NYPD, we know how important it is to improve accessibility in our system," MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek said. "The Fast Forward Plan acknowledges and prioritizes this work as one of four key priorities, and aims to ensure that riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator. This will be accomplished through the addition of up to 50 elevators over the next five years. We believe this is an important issue of practicality and equality, and once accomplished, riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator.”

It's unclear if the fall alone caused Malaysia Goodson's death or if some sort of medical condition may have contributed to the tragedy.

The official cause of Goodson's death will be determined by a medical examiner.

The baby, Rhylee, is now in the custody of her father, in the Bronx. He, along with the rest of the family, according to Goodson's brother, are in shock.

"He was just devastated, too," Dieshe Goodson said. "Everybody was just devastated."

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