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Driver killed as LIRR train, truck collide

Officials at the Deer Park LIRR station look

Officials at the Deer Park LIRR station look over the scene where a truck was hit by a westbound train Tuesday morning at Pine Aire and Executive drives. The truck's driver was killed. (May 17, 2011) Credit: Paul Mazza

A fast-moving Long Island Rail Road train crashed into a truck that went around the crossing gates in Deer Park Tuesday morning, killing its driver, injuring two passengers and delaying commuters for hours, authorities said.

The westbound train that originated in Ronkonkoma struck the baked-goods delivery truck driven by Ahmad Karimzada, 48, at the Executive Drive crossing shortly after 6:30 a.m., LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said. Service was restored in the afternoon.

Karimzada, of Flushing, was driving west on Pine Aire Drive, then turned north on Executive Drive, Arena said.

"He decided, with the gate down, that he was going to go around the gate," said Arena, who added that the express train was moving "at a good clip" when it hit the vehicle.

The impact killed Karimzada and sent pieces of his truck "hurtling in all different directions." The crash shattered the windshield of the electric train, which was carrying about 300 morning rush hour commuters.

Two passengers suffered injuries, the most serious of which was a fractured shoulder. Arena said the train's engineer was "pretty shook up."

News of Karimzada's death came as a "big shock" to his family, said his nephew Walid Karimzada. He said his uncle emigrated from Afghanistan about 30 years ago and worked driving a delivery truck for Thomas' English Muffins.

"He was living a normal life and was a happy person," Walid Karimzada said. "He had no problems at all, no financial problems. . . . He was a very good person."

Arena said a preliminary MTA Police investigation confirmed that the crossing's automatic gate arms were lowered and a bell was sounding when the collision occurred.

"It's a bad move to go around the gates under any circumstances," Arena said. "It's just not wise."

LIRR trains killed 21 people last year. Of those, 15 were deemed suicides by the LIRR.

As authorities investigated the crash and LIRR crews repaired damage to the tracks, service between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma was suspended.

With Zachary Dowdy

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