Julia Roman came to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was 16, joined a program that helps women get jobs in male-dominated industries, and ended up making history: She was the first female elevator and escalator mechanic for New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. But the story of the woman a union vice president calls "a pioneer in her field" ended tragically Thursday when the 43-year-old died giving birth to twins, the New York Daily News reports. Roman suffered an amniotic fluid embolism and doctors performed an emergency C-section but couldn't save her, the New York Post reports.
Roman had been on the job for 15 years and worked through much of her pregnancy. Her position "was a huge accomplishment for her, especially being from an immigrant family," says her sister-in-law. By 2017, there were still just one or two other females in the same position as Roman, per MTA officials. "She was one of just a handful of women in her job title," says the union VP. "She was a good co-worker, a good union person, and a former shop steward. She will be sorely missed." She leaves behind newborn twins Isabella and Grace, three other children ages 5, 19, and 26, and her husband. Local women are donating breast milk for the twins, whom Roman was planning to breastfeed, per the Bergenfield Daily Voice, and a GoFundMe campaign is raising money for the family. (Read more death stories.)