MTA: Distracted Driving Caused Crash With Train

HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, August 7

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Distracted driving was the cause of a collision between a train and a car early Saturday morning in Huntington Station on the Oakwood Road Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) crossing, police said.

According to Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Police, a 20-year-old Suffolk County woman – who was “unfamiliar” with the roads – was driving south on Oakwood Road while using the GPS function on her phone to look for directions. As she approached the lowered LIRR gate near Henry L. Stimson Middle School, she drove the vehicle underneath. The front was stuck by an oncoming train around 8:36 a.m.

MTA Police said the vehicle sustained “extensive” front end damage.

Trapped inside of the vehicle, the woman had to be extricated by the Huntington Manor Fire Department. The Huntington Community First Aid Squad also arrived on the scene, treated the woman for pain to her left ankle and hip along with lacerations to her right hand and shin. She was taken to Huntington Hospital, according to Andrea Golinsky, spokeswoman for the squad.

“Thankfully she suffered only minor injuries,” Golinsky said. “Even the EMS responders said that it was absolutely miraculous that – from the amount of damage done to the car – she didn’t sustain anything more serious.”

According to MTA police, the LIRR engineer running the train was unaware of any vehicles in the intersection until he “felt the train strike something.” Then, quickly stopping the train, the engineer walked back to the crossing and saw the damaged vehicle which was moved back into the road in order to remove the driver.

No other injuries were reported at the scene of the accident, MTA police said.

The woman – whose name was not released as of press time on Wednesday – was, however, held overnight at Huntington Hospital and was later issued a summons for “ignoring the railroad crossing gate” by the MTA police.

News of the accident came a few days prior to New York State Police kicking off its annual “Speed Week,” which aims to crack down on speeding and distracted drivers with upgraded patrols from Aug. 6-12.

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander (Thursday, August 7, 2014;  A3)

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