Two people were killed when the car they were in was struck by a Long Island Rail Road passenger train and burst into flames near Brentwood on Tuesday morning. The LIRR train had no customers on board, but was carrying an engineer and two LIRR crew members, all of whom were able to escape the crash unscathed.
The accident occurred around 10:05am at the Suffolk Avenue crossing. Early reports indicate that the car, a Nissan Altima, may have been trying to go around the gates at the railroad crossing. According to MTA officials, the LIRR train was traveling at the maximum allowable speed for a train making no stops-close to 80mph-when the accident occurred. The train was heading back to the Ronkonkoma yard, ferrying equipment.
The train engineer reportedly saw the car go around the lowered gates then attempted to brake and sound his horn, and struck the car. When the train struck the car it was pushed approximately half a mile down the tracks and burst into flames. The MTA plans to check computer records for the exact gate position and other details. Further investigations into the causes of the accident are ongoing.
Witnesses to the fiery, fatal crash were horrified, and one described the scene as "heartbreaking." No information has been released about the identity of the two victims, but their car was demolished and left unrecognizable after the crash; and it is suspected that the victims perished nearly instantaneously.
The immediate aftermath of such a sudden and tragic accident is an extremely difficult and trying time for the victims' families, but it is also important for them to protect their rights as early as possible. Block O'Toole & Murphy is committed to aiding victims and families of tragic train and car accidents as they face these very difficult times.
We at Block O'Toole & Murphy have experience and expertise in railroad crossing collisions and work hard to ensure that victims of these tragic accidents and their grieving families recover to the full extent possible under the law. New York law requires railroad engineers exercise particular care in operating their trains and take actions to avoid collisions with persons on or around the railroad tracks. If they fail to do so, victims can recover from the railroad compensation for the losses they suffered as a result-including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages. For example, Block O'Toole & Murphy helped a man seriously injured when a LIRR locomotive collided with a tractor-trailer that was stuck on the train tracks in Queens and struck the man as he tried to help the tractor-trailer driver get off the tracks. The firm recovered nearly $4,000,000 for this injured client.
Block O'Toole & Murphy works not only to maximize our clients' recovery under the law but to bring comfort, support and relief to their sad stories. Our clients appreciate the care, attention, sensitivity and expertise we bring to their cases.