Six people died and over a dozen were injured when a Metro-North Railroad train collided with a vehicle during rush hour in suburban New York at the beginning of last month. New York is still trying to cope with the aftermath of the deadly accident in which the female driver of the vehicle, Ellen Brody, a mother of three, was killed along with five passengers who were on the train. According to police reports the vehicle was trapped between the highway guards on the train track.

The fiery collision
According to New York accident attorneys, the fiery crash in Valhalla, New York was caused when the train that had left Manhattan’s Grand Central Station 45 minutes before the accident, hit the SUV while at the Commercial Street crossing. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority confirmed the same.  Passengers managed to evacuate themselves from the wreck through the rear of the train.
According to eyewitnesses, the fatal series of events began when the Mercedes SUV was trapped by the crossing barricade that came down. An earlier car accident had prompted the SUV to stop. The female driver who got out of her vehicle to inspect the damage caused to her rear window that was struck by the gate did not have sufficient time to move.
She did this while parked on the railroad tracks? This person allowed herself to be trapped on the railroad tracks it seems.
NTS preliminary report suggests emergency brakes applied
According to preliminary reports released by federal investigators into the Metro-North Railroad crash, damages to the railroad are estimated at around $3.7 million. The National Transportation Safety Board says that the impact of the collision set off an explosion that burned out the first compartment of the train. Earlier reports from the NTSB also indicated that the emergency brakes of the train were applied. There are no major disclosures in the NTSB’s preliminary report while New York accident attorneys say any major conclusion could be months away.
This is why drivers should not cross railroad tracks unless they know they can reach their way to the other side completely.
Driver had 39 seconds to avoid collision
Initial reports suggest that the SUV was dragged by the eight car train for almost 950 feet before the effect of the brakes could stop the train. According to the NTSB, it was 39 seconds before the collision that the warning lights were activated, followed by the lowering of the gate a few seconds later, during which the SUV was trapped in the train’s path for around 30 seconds. An eye witness said he made the effort to back up and gestured to Ellen Brody to do the same.
He was also aware of the flashing lights that signaled the approaching train. According to Robert Sumwalt of the NTSB, Brody moved the SUV forward and right into the train’s path. Railroad expert Steven Harrod said that it very rare for an oncoming train to have the time to stop if they spot vehicles on the tracks. He said this was unfortunately a constant battle at road crossings.
NTSB reports indicate that Brody’s SUV and other motorists were diverted to the area following an accident at another nearby parkway. Brody’s movements just before the crash are also the focus of investigations. Summwalt reconfirmed that the train’s exits and crashworthiness of the rail cars are also being thoroughly examined.

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