UPDATED: Metro-North Train Hits Jeep Stuck on Railroad Tracks in - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

UPDATED: Metro-North Train Hits Jeep Stuck on Railroad Tracks in NY, 7 Reported Dead

Posted:
VALHALLA, N.Y. (AP) - A packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle on the tracks at a crossing and erupted into flames Tuesday night, killing seven people, injuring at least a dozen and sending hundreds of passengers scrambling for safety, authorities said.

The northbound Metro-North Railroad train struck a Jeep Cherokee in Valhalla, about 20 miles north of New York City, railroad spokesman Aaron Donovan said. Killed were the SUV's driver and six people aboard the train, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, making this crash the railroad's deadliest.

The railroad crossing gates had come down on top of the SUV, which was stopped on the tracks, the spokesman said. The driver got out to look at the rear of the vehicle, then she got back in and drove forward and was struck, he said.

The train shoved the SUV about 10 train car lengths. Smoke poured out of the scorched front rail car, its windows blackened.

Witnesses said they saw the flames shooting from where the crash occurred, in a wooded area near a cemetery.

Ryan Cottrell, assistant director at a nearby rock climbing gym, said he had been looking out a window because of an earlier, unrelated car accident and saw the train hit the car, pushing it along.

"The flames erupted pretty quickly," he said.

He said from his vantage point, it wasn't clear that the car was on the tracks as the train approached and "we didn't see it was going to collide with anything until the actual impact."

Passengers described a bump and said they smelled gasoline from the vehicle.

More than 750 passengers likely were aboard the train, including Justin Kaback, commuting home to Danbury, Connecticut.

"I was trapped. You know there was people in front of me and behind me, and I was trapped in the middle of a car and it was getting very hot," he told ABC News. "All the air was turned off so there was no circulation so it was definitely scary especially when people are walking by on the outside and they said, 'The train's on fire. There's a fire.'"

Passenger Stacey Eisner, who was at the rear of the train, told NBC News that she felt the train "jerk" and then a conductor walked through the train explaining what had happened. She said her train car was evacuated about 10 minutes later using ladders to get people out.

The other rail passengers were moved to the rear of the train, which had left Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan about 45 minutes earlier.

Passengers got off from the rear. About 400 of them were taken to the rock climbing gym for shelter. Buses were heading there to pick them up and take them to their destinations.

The train sat on the tracks at the crossing with thick smoke billowing from it.

All railroad grade crossings have gate arms that are designed to lift automatically if they strike something like a car on the way down, railroad safety consultant Grady Cothen said. The arms are made of wood and are designed to be easily broken if a car trapped between them moves forward or backward, he said.

Metro-North is the nation's second-busiest railroad, after the Long Island Rail Road. It was formed in 1983 and serves about 280,000 riders a day in New York and Connecticut. Service on its Harlem Line was suspended between Pleasantville and North White Plains after the crash.

Metro-North has been criticized severely for accidents over the last couple of years. Late last year, the National Transportation Safety Board issued rulings on five accidents that occurred in New York and Connecticut in 2013 and 2014, repeatedly finding fault with the railroad while also noting that conditions have improved.

Among the accidents was a Dec. 1, 2013, derailment that killed four people, the railroad's first passenger fatalities, in the Bronx. The NTSB said the engineer had fallen asleep at the controls because he had a severe, undiagnosed case of sleep apnea.

Last March, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a stinging report on Metro-North, saying the railroad let safety concerns slip while pushing to keep trains on time. Railroad executives pledged to make safety their top priority.
  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Updated: Bicyclists Killed in Dewey Beach Were From DC

    Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    10/21/2017 21:09:00 -04:002017-10-22 01:09:00 GMT
    Monday, October 23 2017 8:08 AM EDT2017-10-23 12:08:56 GMT
    Dewey Beach, DE- The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St.Traffic inMore
    Delaware State Police say two bicyclists killed over the weekend in Dewey Beach were from the District of Columbia.More
  • First of Neglected Seaford Dogs Adopted

    First of Neglected Seaford Dogs Adopted

    10/23/2017 04:49:00 -04:002017-10-23 08:49:00 GMT
    Monday, October 23 2017 8:01 AM EDT2017-10-23 12:01:01 GMT
    Three dogs that went up for adoption this weekend after being rescued from a Seaford home this month, have been adopted.More
    Three dogs that went up for adoption this weekend, after being rescued from a Seaford, Del. home this month, have been adopted.More
  • Three Victims Sent to Hospital After Shooting at Royals Farms in Salisbury

    Three Victims Sent to Hospital After Shooting at Royals Farms in Salisbury

    10/22/2017 15:05:00 -04:002017-10-22 19:05:00 GMT
    Monday, October 23 2017 7:59 AM EDT2017-10-23 11:59:24 GMT
    (Image: MGN)(Image: MGN)
    At 2:34 am Sunday morning deputies were called to the Royal Farms Store, at 7900 Royalty Way, in Salisbury in response to a shooting.When deputies arrived, they learned that a physical altercation took place that led to one person producing a hMore
    Authorities say three people were injured following an early Sunday morning shooting that occurred at the Royal Farms store at 7900 Royalty Way in Salisbury.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St. Saturday night.

    More

    The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St. Saturday night.

    More
  • Update: Three Victims Sent to Hospital After Shooting at Royals Farms in Salisbury

    Update: Three Victims Sent to Hospital After Shooting at Royals Farms in Salisbury

    At 2:34 am Sunday morning deputies were called to the Royal Farms Store, at 7900 Royalty Way, in Salisbury in response to a shooting. When deputies arrived, they learned that a physical altercation took place that led to one person producing a handgun and began firing. A female customer not involved in the altercation received minor injuries and was transported to PRMC. Police said a short time later two additional victims arrived at PRMC in their personal vehicle.

    More

    At 2:34 am Sunday morning deputies were called to the Royal Farms Store, at 7900 Royalty Way, in Salisbury in response to a shooting. When deputies arrived, they learned that a physical altercation took place that led to one person producing a handgun and began firing. A female customer not involved in the altercation received minor injuries and was transported to PRMC. Police said a short time later two additional victims arrived at PRMC in their personal vehicle.

    More
  • Police Arrest A Baltimore Man for Unsolved Murder of UMES Student

    Police Arrest A Baltimore Man for Unsolved Murder of UMES Student

    Maryland State Police arrested 25-year-old Davonta M. Braxton, of Baltimore, Md.

    Officers say Braxton is charged in connection to the murder of 21-year-old Edmond St. Clair, who was a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Braxton has been a student at the university, but is not currently enrolled, according to school records.

    More

    Maryland State Police arrested 25-year-old Davonta M. Braxton, of Baltimore, Md.

    Officers say Braxton is charged in connection to the murder of 21-year-old Edmond St. Clair, who was a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Braxton has been a student at the university, but is not currently enrolled, according to school records.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices