Metro-North Tragedy on the Tracks
February 3, 2015, at approximately 6:30 p.m., a black Mercedes-Benz SUV stopped on the tracks when the gates at the two-track Commerce Street crossing near Valhalla came down on the rear of the jeep. The female driver of the Mercedes-Benz SUV got out inspecting the damages and putting the gate up. Then she drove forward instead of in reverse and into the path of the oncoming train. The Mercedes-Benz SUV collided with the Metro-North express train, which pushed the SUV a 1000 feet down the tracks. 400 feet of third rail was shoved into the first rail car and another piece into the second train car, which remarkably missed passengers. Both the Mercedes-Benz SUV and the first train car ignited. The inside of that train car was melted and charred. Dark smoke poured out of the Metro-North car’s windows. Seven people killed and a least a dozen more injured, and taken to Westchester Medical Center. It was the deadliest crash in Metro North history.
Passengers walked to the back of the Metro-North train where police officers escorted them out utilizing a nearby parking lot at a rock-climbing gym for shelter and evaluation. Buses were sent to the fitness facility to bring passengers to a station in Pleasantville.
Ellen Brody was identified as the driver of the SUV that was struck by the Metro-North train Tuesday night. She was a married mother of three kids, two daughters, and a son. Ellen Brody, 49, was headed home from her job at a Chappaqua jewelry design shop Tuesday evening when she died in the fiery 6:30 p.m. crash at a Westchester County railroad crossing. She and the other five casualties were burned beyond recognition.
Gov. Cuomo on Metro-North Tragedy
“There are six people who left home and said ‘goodbye honey’ and never came back,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. He called the accident a “truly ugly and brutal sight.” Cuomo added that the electrified third rail of the track buckled and pierced the front train car. “You had a metal rail going right down the train like a ramrod,” Cuomo said. “That’s what caused massive destruction.”
The National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board launched a go-team to investigate the accident, which is the deadliest tragedy in the history of the railroad. NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said this morning that officials have secured event recorders for the train itself, as well as for train and highway signals near the crash, and the agency has sent experts to analyze the recorders. The NTSB team also includes technical experts who can examine areas such as track and highway factors, emergency response and fire science. The NTSB expects to gather evidence at the scene for five to seven days, starting with the most perishable evidence, for an investigation that could last a year.
“Our goal is not only to find what happened, but to find out why it happened,” Sumwalt said. “We go there and we cast a wide net. … At this point, everything is on the table. Nothing is off the table.”
By Shamarie, 4th Feb 2015