NTSB: Metro-North train sounded horns, applied emergency brake before striking SUV

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

VALHALLA, N.Y.  — Preliminary investigation findings indicate an SUV was in the danger zone inside railroad crossing gates for about 39 seconds before a suburban New York commuter train crashed into it, killing the driver and five train passengers.

National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Robert Sumwalt on Thursday disclosed data that shed light on the timeline of Tuesday’s crash.

A witness says a crossing gate came down on the back of the SUV and the driver got out, examined it and then got back in and advanced onto the tracks.

Sumwalt says flashing lights at the Valhalla crossing illuminated 39 seconds before the wreck and the gates came down a few seconds later. He says the train was going just under the 60 mph speed limit at 58 mph and the engineer hit the emergency brake.

Investigators found the signals and warning lights at the grade crossing were operating properly at the time of the accident.

The NTSB will interview the train’s conductor on Friday and is looking into obtaining cell phone records of the driver, 49 year old Ellen Brody.

For continuing coverage, click here.