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Woman pulled from car before LIRR collision


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Woman pulled from car before LIRR collision

BY JENNIFER MALONEY AND WILLIAM MURPHY

Newsday

 

33710483.jpg

A car was struck by a LIRR train at Roslyn Road after it made a turn onto the tracks.

The elderly woman driving the car was pulled before the train hit the car.

(Photo by Lou Minutoli / November 8, 2007)

 

Seconds before her silver Buick LaCrosse was demolished by an oncoming train at a Mineola crossing, a disabled woman was pulled to safety Thursday by a volunteer fire chief and his wife, an off-duty police officer.

 

Shortly before 5:40 p.m., a 63-year-old Floral Park woman was driving south on Roslyn Road at an intersection where the roadway crosses the Long Island Rail Road tracks. She turned right onto the tracks, apparently thinking it was a street, according to MTA police.

 

In the line of traffic coming toward the crossing, sitting in a Franklin Square fire vehicle, was Anthony LoCicero, 33, a Franklin Square chief, and his wife, Randi LoCicero, 34, an off-duty NYPD officer.

 

The LoCiceros, both volunteer ambulance medical technicians, were stopped three car-lengths away from the tracks when Jennifer Freiermuth, 28, of Commack, approached them and said a car was stuck. The woman had crutches in the car, which had a handicapped license plate.

 

"My husband, because he was in the chief's car, got on the radio," said Randi LoCicero, a firearms instructor at the Rodman's Neck firing range in the Bronx. "When we started approaching the tracks, the gates came down. So we ran around the car."

 

They opened the door, grabbed the woman and pulled her out despite her protests that she wanted to get her pocketbook, she said.

 

"My husband alerted people on the other side to get away ... because we heard the horn," she said.

 

Just after they pulled her out, a westbound train slammed into the car, flipping it and dragging it a short distance before coming to a stop.

 

The train was traveling 70 miles per hour before the engineer saw the car from about 400 feet away and applied the emergency brakes, said MTA police, who confirmed LoCicero's account.

 

The Buick was wedged between the train and the wall of a rail bridge just west of Roslyn Road, where a car underpass currently is under construction. The underpass will replace Roslyn Road's grade-level railroad crossing.

 

The car's license plate is registered to Patricia Rech, 63, of Floral Park. Thursday night, Rech declined to talk to a reporter.

 

[float=right]33710490.jpg

Randi LoCicero, 34, of Franklin Square and an off-

duty NYPD officer with her husband pulled the woman out.[/float]A heavy piece of construction equipment pulled the mangled sedan away from the tracks at 6:10 p.m.

 

The collision, which involved the 4:46 p.m. train from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station, disrupted the evening rush hour, causing an hour-long service suspension east of Jamaica on the Huntington/Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma and Oyster Bay branches.

 

Some trains were canceled. Limited train service was restored by 6:40 p.m., with residual delays of up to an hour, LIRR spokesman Sam Zambuto said.

 

No injuries were reported on the train and the woman was not hurt, the LIRR said.

 

"We are very grateful for the quick thinking and fast actions of these two heroes," LIRR spokeswoman Susan McGowan said.

 

Freiermuth said she stopped and called 911 when she saw the woman in the disabled car, but others didn't.

 

"Cars kept going around her," said Freiermuth, a paralegal, who also ran to pull the woman out but reached the car after the LoCiceros.

 

As for the woman's belongings, Randi LoCicero said, "She was a little mad we didn't get her pocketbook, but you know, that's life."

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