WESTBURY, N.Y. — Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says a vehicle tried to beat a train at a railroad crossing while the gates were down, resulting in a LIRR crash and derailment. All three of the vehicle’s occupants were killed.
According to the Long Island Rail Road, the LIRR train was carrying about 200 passengers on its way to Penn Station when it struck the vehicle at the School Street crossing in Westbury. Police say the vehicle’s driver drove around the lowered safety gates moments before the train crash in Long Island.
Ryder said the force of the LIRR crash, which happened near a grade crossing by a station, destroyed part of the stop’s concrete platform.
“The train then leaves the track and takes out the platform and then hits the north side of the platform and takes off about 30 yards of concrete, which goes through the train,” Ryder said.
Service was suspended in both directions on the Ronkonkoma and Huntington/Port Jefferson lines around 7:30 pm on Tuesday as emergency crews responded to the accident.
April Frazier, 31, of Brooklyn, was on the train and described the scene to reporters:
“I was sitting on the left side and all of a sudden the train really started rocking hard. Flames flared up on my side. I heard the conductor yell ‘Brake, brake!’ That’s when I saw the flames.”
“That’s when it got real. I’m still shaken up. You don’t know. You think you might die. I’m thinking to myself ‘It might be my last day,’” April Frazier said.
According to Newsday, April Frazier said everything went quiet after the crash until firefighters arrived, and instructed passengers to remain in place.
Several train passengers suffered injuries, and were taken to Nassau University Medical Center, police said.
What To Do If You Were On A Derailed Train
It didn’t take long for first responders to arrive on the scene of the LIRR crash to help the 200 passengers trapped on-board. Firefighters say it’s important for passengers in situations like these to remain calm and stay in place so that medics can first help those who are most seriously injured.
Several minutes later, rescue crews helped other passengers get off the derailed LIRR train near the School Street crossing in Westbury.
Waiting to get a laddder to get us off train now
— Nirmal Mitra (@Nirmitra) February 27, 2019
A New York train accident lawyer says passengers can often suffer severe injuries in an accident like this, and the costs associated with their injuries may become excessive. Insurance alone might not provide victims enough compensation to get them the best medical treatments possible.
In addition to injured train passengers, there were two passengers in the vehicle on the tracks that lost their lives. In many cases, family members of vehicle passengers may file a wrongful death claim that could force railroads to make crucial changes that could prevent future accidents from happening.
Those injured in a train crash may be entitled to significant compensation if they file a personal injury train accident claim. However, these claims must be filed quickly in order to ensure victims and their families can get the best result possible. Some of the costs that these victims can receive compensation for include:
- Medical bills
- Lost time at work/wages
- Pain & Suffering
- Future medical procedures
- And more…
It’s also critical to fully investigate the crash to determine what went wrong, and who’s responsible. A legal investigation may uncover many factors, including:
- Were the train brakes functioning?
- Was the engineer awake and alert?
- Was the train going too fast?
- Were all systems operating correctly?
- Were safety features properly installed and working at the time of the crash?
- Were the gates adequate to deter drive-arounds?
A New York train accident attorney says a full and impartial investigation must be conducted. An experienced lawyer will also look at the following pieces of evidence:
- On-site video
- Gate timing
- Gate design – were they designed with safety in mind?
Some of these victims may never make a full recovery, but answers to these questions will provide them with the best information possible, and more importantly, closure.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in any type of train accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you through the legal process.
If you decide to contact our team, we’ll put our best train accident lawyers on your case. For a free consultation, call us at (800) 888-8888
For more information on train accidents, or to file a claim, follow this link.