Additional Warning Lights Were Planned but not Fitted at Tragic New York Grade Crossing
Five days after a devastating crash on a grade crossing in New York that killed a driver and five train passengers, questions linger about the safety of the crossing.
Fox News reported on how additional warning lights were planned at the suburban New York train crossing which was the scene of Tuesday’s fatal crash, but state transportation officials never installed them.
The New York Post reported on how the planned third set of lights would have been built up to 200 feet back from the crossing, on a curving road leading up to the grade crossing. The report suggests officials were concerned about the visibility of the crossing.
A sum of money of $128,000 was set aside for the extra lights but it was thrown back into the agency’s general coffers in 2009.
It’s not clear if this additional safeguard would have made a difference but it certainly had the potential to flag up the crossing more effectively to drivers. Transportation Department spokesman Beau Duffy told The Associated Press it was too premature in the investigation to say whether the extra lights would have made a difference.
Media reports stated the two sets of lights and the descending gates were working properly, but there is “speculation surrounding the placement of a power substation 20 feet away, which may have blocked driver Ellen Brody’s view of the oncoming train.”
She was reported to be on way to see a client when her SUV drove into the path of the train.
The NTSB will be setting up a train and a vehicle at the scene to “see how far back people can see each other,” investigator Robert Sumwalt said.
The derailment occurred on Tuesday after a train hit the SUV on the tracks. It caused a fire in the train that killed five. The other fatality was the driver of the SUV. More than 15 people were injured, state officials said.
This tragic incident was the worst crash in the history of Metro-North. The New York Times subsequently reported that New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo said that there was significant traffic near the railroad crossing where the accident happened and that it did not appear that the woman driving the vehicle, a black Jeep Cherokee, was trying to beat the train at the crossing at Lakeview Avenue in Valhalla, N.Y. The Mayor said, it was more likely that she was somehow confused.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers represents the families of people who have been killed in railroad crashes and those who have been injured. Call us at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation.