6 Dead in NY Train-SUV Crash

Vehicle was stuck on tracks 20 miles north of NYC
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2015 8:53 PM CST
Updated Feb 4, 2015 7:16 AM CST
Firefighters work the scene of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and a vehicle in Valhalla, NY, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015.   (AP Photo/The Journal-News, Frank Becerra, Jr.)
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(Newser) – A crowded commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle on the tracks at a suburban New York crossing and burst into flames last night, killing six people and seriously injuring nearly a dozen in the railroad's deadliest crash, authorities say. The collision involving a Metro-North Railroad train and a Jeep Cherokee in Valhalla, about 20 miles north of New York City, sent hundreds of passengers scrambling to get to safety. Authorities say the impact was so forceful the electrified third rail came up and pierced the train. Killed were the SUV's driver and five people aboard the train, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says. The toll was initially reported to be seven; officials revised it to six this morning, reports the Journal News.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino says the front part of the train was "completely charred and burned." "I am amazed anyone got off that train alive," he says. Authorities say the SUV's driver had gotten out of her vehicle momentarily after the crossing's safety gates came down around her. She then got back in and was trying to drive forward when she was hit. The train shoved the SUV about 10 train-car lengths. "You have (six) people who started out today to go about their business and aren't going to be making it home tonight," Cuomo said at the crash site, which he described as "truly ugly and brutal."

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