Tuesday evening during the evening rush and a crowded Metro-North Railroad train in Westchester County hits a sport-utility vehicle parked at a crossing of the tracks. The accident was the deadliest in the Metro-North railroads 32-year old history claiming the lives of seven people, forced evacuation of thousands and injured a dozen others.
The black Jeep Cherokee vehicle was smashed by the train Commerce Street in Valhalla at around 6:30pm. Reports were confirmed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Justin Kaback was not aware that the commuter train he was riding would kill the driver, a woman who had stopped her Mercedes SUV in the tracks and five other people.
“This is truly ugly and brutal sight,” said Gov Andrew M. Cuomo after he toured the city late Tuesday. Fifteen people were injured, ” about nine” seriously he added. Additional reports state that the train pushed the SUV to about 400 feet causing an explosion that made the third rail of the said track go passed the front train car.
Around 400 passengers, were evacuated from the scene and were taken to the nearby rock climbing gym to get shelter. From here the passengers were to be taken to a nearby station by bus, said Aaron Donovan spokesman for the authority.Those with injuries, about ten with serious injuries and two with not life threatening injuries were rushed to local hospitals, Rob Astorino said.
Eyewitness report from Michael McGuinn a worker at a nearby gym said he saw the train crash from the front followed by sparks and then an enormous fire. Moments later he heard passengers scream and moan. “I just saw people dazed in addition confused,” he said. “They all looked shell shocked.”
“We will work closely with the NTSB and local officials to determine the exact cause of this accident, and work to ensure such incidents are not repeated,” said Joseph Giulietti the Metro-North Railroad President in a statement to newsrooms.
Investigations are ongoing to get to know its actual cause.These are been done by National Transportation Safety Board inspectors.
“All indications from the MTA point that it was not an issue with the tracks. Investigations are ongoing to see whether it was human error” said Astorino in a statement.