Valhalla, NY-The investigation into the North-Metro revealed that the train conductor applied the emergency brakes prior to colliding with the SUV that had been sitting on the tracks for at least 30 seconds before the deadly collision. The accident, which took place Tuesday, killed the SUV driver and five people on the train.
Investigators say Ellen Brody, who was driving the SUV, was stopped on the tracks when the Metro-North commuter train, carrying close to 400 passengers, slammed into her vehicle around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, killing her instantly. Now investigators are trying to determine why she was on the tracks in the first place.
According to Fox News, Brody was on the tracks when the warning lights began going off and that rail crossing arms went down. Witness at the scene told Fox that Brody got out of her car and looked around before getting back in. That was 30 seconds before the train stuck her vehicle.
Witnesses said Brody didn’t attempt to drive through the crossing arms which are designed to brake off when impacted by a vehicle.
Upon collision, both the SUV and the first car of the train exploded into flames which completely consumed the SUV. The New York Times reports that the intensity of the explosion and fire caused the third rail of the tracks to pierce the front car.
The engineer and passengers on the train helped the injured and other passengers get off of the train. A total of five train passengers died and at least ten were seriously injured.
CBS reports that this was the deadliest accident involving the Metro-North line since it began running 32 years ago and it is unusual for passengers to die in such accidents. Trains hit cars regularly, but rarely do these accidents result in fatalities for train passengers.
The NTSB is investigating the accident, trying to determine why the first train caught on fire and looking into whether the emergency exits were adequate enough. Investigators will also look into why Brody was on the tracks, whether she was using her cell phone at the time, was familiar with the area and what role traffic gridlock played in the crash.
This is just the latest accident for the Metro-North line. Last year, the rail line was faulted for at least five accidents, according to Fox News.
In 94 percent of the train accidents across the country, the passenger vehicle motorist is at fault, according to figures from the Federal Railroad Administration.
Since the investigation is still underway in this accident, it’s too early to tell who was at fault for this accident. When fault is determined, the victims will know who is responsible for compensating them for the loss of a loved one or for their injuries.
Victims of any traffic accident should speak with an accident attorney immediately to begin working on their case. With a strong case, an accident victim will receive the maximum amount of compensation they deserve for the suffering.

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