I was deeply saddened to read the news about another train accident in New York – this time on a grade crossing. Six were killed in the accident on Metro-North Railroad, eclipsing the death toll in the 2013 derailment in the Bronx. The accident has raised questions about whether a warning signs on a grade crossing were working properly.
The derailment on Tuesday after a train hit an SUV on the tracks 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.
It was the worst crash in the history of Metro-North. The New York Times 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.
The northbound train had left New York City’s Grand Central terminal more than an hour earlier. According to media reports, it pushed the SUV 400 feet, said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. A rail pushed up from the track and rammed through the entire first car of the train.
CNN reported that Inspectors from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating this crash. Of the 15 being treated for injuries at hospitals, “about nine” were seriously injured, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN Wednesday morning.
This is a tragic crash and my thoughts are with the families of those who died and those who are injured. This accident again raises safety questions about Metro-North. Recently, I wrote about how issues such as problems with the track and cars, contributed to five recent crashes on Metro-North Railroad.
The National Transportation Safety Board report made reference to a series of recurring issues that included inadequate and ineffective track inspection as well as maintenance, a considerable number of deferred maintenance issues, inadequate safety oversight, deficiencies in the crashworthiness of cars, roadway worker protection procedures and problems with the railroad’s organizational safety culture.
Railroad crossings are among the most dangerous places on the railroad. If the poor condition is a crossing is a factor in an accident, light are malfunctioning or a train engineer fails to sound a warning, a railroad can be liable for accidents on a grade crossing. Media reports suggested a possible problem with the crossing gates. The media reported on how security consultant Peter Moreno heard on the police scanner that the railroad crossing gates at Virginia Road in North White Plains were not working properly. He tweeted the information “to let people know to be careful.”
An undiagnosed case of sleep apnea led a driver to fall asleep, causing the 2013 Metro-North derailment that killed four people in The Bronx.
If you have lost a loved one in a railroad crash or been injured, contact our experienced railroad injury lawyers for a free consultation at 757.455.0077 or see CooperHurley.com