2015-07-22 / Features

Conductor Could Face Charges In Maspeth Crash

By Liz Goff
The operator of a freight train that collided with a tractor-trailer in Maspeth on July 8 could be facing charges after an investigation revealed the train was speeding at the tie of impact.

A probe conducted by investigators at the NYPD Highway Unit’s Collision Investigation Squad (HCIS) revealed that the New York and Atlantic Freight Rails train was traveling northbound at 25mph in a 15mph speed zone when it slammed into the 53-foot truck at about 12:42 a.m. on July 8.

The 42-year-old truck driver suffered minor injuries when his truck burst into flames after it was struck by the freight train at a railroad crossing near Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street. The driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center for treatment of injuries he suffered in the crash. He was released several days later, authorities said.

The train engineer and conductor were not injured and refused medical attention, police said.

Police sources said video surveillance shows the gate on the railroad crossing did not shut down until after the impact. Investigators also determined the train pushed the truck more than 200-feet along the tracks before it came to a stop, the sources said.

Local activists and neighbors blasted city, state and federal agencies for allowing trains hauling trash to travel through the mixed residential neighborhood.

Neighbors said they have been complaining for years about the trains that spew “revolting fumes, dust and other particles” into the air near their homes as they speed along the train tracks.

“It’s not bad enough that these garbage trains spill dirt and dust, and who knows shat, into our environment,” a nearby resident fumed. “What would happen if one of these things really exploded and shot flames and toxic material into our neighborhood and our homes?” the man said.

Calls for comment by New York and Atlantic Freight Rails were not immediately answered.

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