“LIRR train, car collide in fiery crash”

“(Long Island-WABC, February 15, 2006) – There was an explosive and deadly collision on the Long Island Railroad when a commuter train slams into a car.

One person was killed when a LIRR train smashed into car and then caught fire. The train at the time was heading to Port Jefferson during Wednesday’s commute home.Eyewitness News Reporter Jeff Pegues is in Hicksville with late details.  

This train crash led to a commuter nightmare for thousands of people Wednesday night. Service is now suspended along a section of the Long Island Rail Road.

At the Hicksville station, LIRR workers guided weary commuters on buses. They are finally headed home after a three hour ride they won’t soon forget.

“It just sounded like you were going over debris,” one passenger said.

“It was a car on the tracks facing the train…we were going so fast you couldn’t tell if the car was moving or not… it was facing directly in front of the train,” another passenger said.

At about 7 p.m. the eastbound 5:47 from Hunterspoint, Queens slammed into a car at the Robbins Lane crossing in Syosset. Witnesses say the train pushed the car down the tracks as it exploded into a ball of fire — the flames and smoke spread to the train.

It is still not clear what the car was doing on the tracks — police are investigating that. As the smoke billowed from the train, police sealed off the area, treating it like a crime scene.

Brian Dolan, LIRR spokesperson: “There were no injuries to any passengers…there is a slight injury to a locomotive engineer .. he’s being interviewed by Nassau County Police and MTA Police as well.”

For three hours about 800 commuters on the train were stranded until the train was able to move, transporting them back to the Hicksville station.

The one fatality in that crash was the person in the car.

As far as LIRR service is concerned, it is now suspended between Hicksville and Huntington. Railroad officials say service should be back to normal by the morning.”

Guess what lucky person experienced it all first hand? That’s right, me.

It really did sound like we hit debris. No one knew we even hit a car for the first 20 minutes we sat there. Conductors and passangers alike thought it was an engine fire, until all the fire extinguishers were wasted, and they discovered a burning car wedged underneath our locomotive. The entire ordeal took about 2.5 hours to get the green light to be dragged back to Hicksville. After that, it took another 2.5 hours to get back to Stony Brook.

Surprisingly no one panicked. We all calmly evacuated the first car, and rather impatiently waited the 2.5 hours it took to get us disengaged from the locomotive and dragged back West.

~Lauren.

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