Eric Albrecht, teen hit by LIRR train, in good condition
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The teenager hit by a train Monday while walking along the railroad tracks in Center Moriches was hospitalized in good condition Tuesday and under the care of "a great team of doctors and nurses," his family said in a statement.
Eric Albrecht, 16, of East Moriches, suffered a broken hip and other injuries on the right side of his body, authorities said.
Family members told police that Albrecht had just completed a midterm exam and was walking home from Center Moriches High School when he was struck, an LIRR spokesman said. Albrecht was wearing earphones at the time, the spokesman said.
"We would like to thank those in the community for their concerns about our son. . . . Out of concern for Eric's well-being, we ask that you respect his privacy and our family's privacy as we focus our attention on helping Eric recover from his injuries," his family said in the statement released by Stony Brook Children's Hospital.
Albrecht was walking east about 1 p.m. as a Montauk train going in the same direction approached the Speonk station near Chichester and Railroad avenues, LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said Monday.
It was traveling on the long stretch of single track between Mastic-Shirley and Speonk stations at about 60 mph -- below the maximum allowable speed of 65 mph, MTA police told him, Arena said.
An engineer trainee was operating the diesel locomotive under the supervision of a certified LIRR locomotive engineer when they saw a lone figure ahead, Arena said. The trainee sounded his horn, but Albrecht apparently did not hear the warning, he said.
The trainee then brought the train to an emergency stop, Arena said. Both the trainee and the engineer told investigators that Albrecht, in the last moments, "appeared to become aware of the train, but could not get out of" the way in time, the MTA said.
Arena initially said the train was several hundred yards away when the crew first saw Albrecht. Later, Arena said MTA investigators said it was unclear how far away the train was when the crew members first spotted Albrecht.
"It appears that the trainee and the instructor did everything they could to alert the youth and stop the train," Arena said in an email statement. "But why he would choose an always dangerous railroad right of way as his route home is just inexplicable."
The case is under investigation.
Center Moriches Fire Chief Ron Primus said the teen landed about 15 feet down from the tracks and was able to talk to rescuers. "He was in a ravine off the side of the tracks," he said. "He was alert and conscious. He's very, very lucky."