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Family, officials seek answers in LIRR death

The driver of what appears to be a

The driver of what appears to be a Lexus sedan was killed after the car was struck by a train at the Islip Avenue crossing just south of Suffolk Avenue in Central Islip. (May 10, 2013) Credit: Paul Mazza

Relatives of a Brentwood father of four killed Friday when his car was hit by an LIRR train at a Central Islip crossing returned to the site Sunday as MTA officials said it remained unclear whether faulty gate crossings contributed to the crash.

Edson Muñoz, victim Adolfo Muñoz's nephew, walked along a grassy area next to the train tracks, strewn with metal car parts and soda cans.

Muñoz rifled through scattered debris near the site where his uncle was killed. When asked why he was there, Muñoz said he just "wanted to see" it.

Adolfo Muñoz, 63, was driving his black 2000 Lexus south on Route 111 before getting in the path of a westbound nonpassenger LIRR train shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, at the crossing on Islip Avenue in Central Islip. Muñoz was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and pronounced dead a short time later.

Edson Muñoz, 30, of Brentwood, said family and friends "are not too sure" what caused the accident. "A lot of people were saying the gates were up and down and weren't working properly," he said.

The MTA is still investigating the collision, said Marjorie Anders, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the LIRR. "We are looking into the functioning of the gates and flashers and downloading the black box," Anders said Saturday.

Adolfo Muñoz was a retired used-car salesman who worked at his brother's nearby business, DLC Motors, said his son, who was also at the crash site Sunday but declined to give his name.

Muñoz was just leaving the dealership Friday afternoon, and was headed home when his car was struck at the crossing, his son said.

Tomika Oliver, who drives past the rail crossing at least twice a day, said there have been consistent problems at the intersection. The gate guard comes down and then quickly pops up but no train passes, she said. "It makes me very nervous," Oliver said. "I don't trust the gates."

But Sam Singh, owner of both the MetroPCS and Liquor & Wine stores across the street from the train tracks, said, "The gate always comes down and the train passes."

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