The National Transportation Safety Board released more than 1,000 pages of documents Wednesday from its probe of February’s fatal MetroNorth train crash in Valhalla but has yet to issue its conclusions.
Six people were killed, including Ellen Brody, 49, of Edgemont, who had driven her SUV into the crossing where her vehicle was hit by the evening commuter train, the NTSB said.
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Brody’s husband, Alan, told the NTSB his wife had no experience with rail crossings, and had never been to that location.
She often relied on him for directions — as she did that night — instead of using GPS because the 2011 Mercedes he bought her about two months earlier was complicated, Alan Brody said.
“I was there that night. There was snow everywhere,” according to his statement to the NTSB. “Obviously, she didn’t know she was sitting on a rail crossing.”
The couple’s last call ended about 6:20 p.m., the NTSB said. Just six minutes later, the train, traveling at 58 mph, slammed into the SUV.
The third rail impaled the vehicle and pierced 343 feet of the lead railcar, the NTSB said.
Ellen Brody, a book keeping consultant who also worked part-time in a jewelry shop, was on her way to meet a new client, her husband said when her call to him “fizzled.”
Due to a nearby accident, she might have been directed to a different route, he said.
The NTSB documents include photos, work records and interviews with first responders, witnesses, survivors, the engineer and conductor. The documents also include toxicology test results showing no alcohol or illicit drugs in her system.
Alan Brody said his wife exercised regularly and was content, noting their elder daughter had just gotten her first job after college and their younger daughter, at 16, was fairly independent.
Thomas Prendergast, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, told reporters Wednesday all crossings are being analyzed by the MTA to identify the most hazardous ones and improve their safety through engineering and education.