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Fatal Train Crash in NY | Safety Tips from Fellerman & Ciarimboli Law Firm

Fatal Train Crash in New York – Feb. 3, 2015

A fatal train crash occurred on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, in Westchester County, New York. Like many others, Ellen Brody was traveling home from work during rush hour traffic in what most would consider a safe vehicle, her Mercedes SUV.  As Mrs. Brody was driving across the train tracks in Valhalla, the signal gate, which typically signals an oncoming train, hit the rear end of her Mercedes SUV. Mrs. Brody got out of her vehicle to check the car. Then, reason unbeknownst, she got back into her car and drove forward onto the tracks. Steven Smalls, the locomotive engineer of the Metro-North train, says that when he saw the SUV, he hit the emergency brake and sounded the horn, but to no avail.

The train crashed into Mrs. Brady’s SUV, killing her immediately and causing both her vehicle and the first train car to burst into flames. The train involved in the crash had left Grand Central Station around 5:45 PM and at 6:30, at the time of the accident, the train was traveling approximately 58 miles per hour, well below the 70mph speed limit. The fatal train crash caused six casualties, a dozen injuries, and displaced hundreds—the deadliest crash in the history of Metro-North Railroad, NYTimes reports.  Passenger Scott Miller, 45, said, “It was kind of crazy. You had firemen trying to bang open the doors. People were jumping out of the windows.” Passengers jumped from the train cars, fleeing from the explosion and flinging themselves into nearby snow banks.

The National Transportation Security Board is currently conducting an investigation that they say should take a week to complete.  Daily News states that the preliminary results from recorders at the scene appear to show that everything was working properly at the time of the accident. ‘This kind of horrific, terrible crash was preventable – that’s the lesson here,” Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Wednesday.

Recent Train Accidents – More Safety Measures are Needed

  • The Bridgeport train accident in May 2013, where an eastbound train derailed and was struck by a westbound train, injuring 76 people.
  • The infamous D.C. Metro Red Line Crash in June of 2009 killed 9 people and injured 70.
  • The Chatslink Metrolink Crash in California killed 25 passengers in September 2008.
  • The Amtrak Sunset Limited train wreck in September 1993  left 47 people dead.

Finally, this recent Metro-North accident proves the need for added safety precautions. MassLive described the idea Rep. Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., mentioned– incorporating “positive train control, a technology that uses WiFi and GPS to monitor trains’ exact position and automatically applies the brakes to prevent collisions or lessen their severity.” The technology, while not specifically invented for grade-crossing accidents, could be developed to include such purposes. Also included in reformation efforts is the suggestion that additional inspectors should be hired. More must be done to ensure safety and reliability for passengers.

To ensure your safety, remember the following tips:

  • If near train tracks, maintain a safe distance. Not only is walking on train tracks illegally, but it is also dangerous—especially due to the fact that many trains are extraordinarily quiet.
  • When driving, never stop on train tracks. Stop a safe distance on either side of the tracks.
  • Keep in mind that trains do not always run on set schedules. Do not assume that it is safe to cross train tracks due to the time.
  • Never enter a train tunnel or cross a railroad trestle, as you may not have an escape route available to you if a train is approaching.
  • Remember that, due to their weight and momentum, it is extremely difficult for trains to stop quickly. Always stay out of an oncoming train’s way.

Contact Fellerman & Ciarimboli in Philadelphia or Wilkes-Barre

Attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli Law Firm will fight for those injured in train accidents like the ones listed above. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to give us a call us today at 570-714-HURT (Wilkes-Barre) or 215-575-9237 in Philadelphia. You can also fill the form on our contact page, or live chat with us during business hours.

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With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.





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