The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) released its findings in July for the investigation into a train wreck where a Metro-North Railroad train hit an SUV in 2015.
According to The New York Times , the driver of the SUV, Ellen Brody, 49, got out of her vehicle to inspect it after a crossing arm came down. Then she got back inside and suddenly drove her vehicle forward into the path of the oncoming train. The collision killed the driver along with five passengers on the train. It was the worst accident in the history of Metro-North Railroad history.
The driver’s husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged the railroad was to blame for inadequate signs and flaws in the signal systems at the railroad crossing. However, the NTSB investigation did not find the signal systems to be faulty or that signs were the reason. They concluded that the driver caused the accident, but they could not discern what she was thinking when she drove the car forward.
Investigators devoted considerable time to trying to discover what the driver’s mindset could have been. They questioned the husband about her sleep habits, state of mind, stress, fatigue and alcohol or drug use. She had no alcohol or drugs in her system when the crash occurred, and phone records indicated she was not using her cell phone. Why she got out of the car and then drove it forward remained a mystery.
The NTSB did evaluate that a third rail was responsible for the train being so badly damaged, however. The rail penetrated the railroad cars during the accident, but they should have broken away and not have remained intact. As a result, more than 650 passengers were trapped aboard the train.
This factor is left for Metro North to further look into so that the current third rail system does not pose a risk for severe damages and injuries when accidents take place at or near grade crossings.
Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP assists families with loved ones who are severly injured or die in train or car crash accidents. We offer a free consultation to discuss your accident and determine whether you have grounds to pursue compensation.