DANBURY – Connecticut residents reacted to news of the deadliest accident in Metro North history when a train and an SUV collided along the Harlem line, killing six people in Valhalla, New York, Tuesday evening.
"Naturally, we're concerned and worried that one of the victims may be from the area. Obviously, it's a tragedy for all the victims,” Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said.
Boughton said roughly 500 to 600 people from the city ride the Metro North, and thousands more from the area commute into New York City on the Harlem line daily. The line is now disrupted while the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the accident and the rail line lays down 400 feet of new track.
"They are going to be providing almost 200 to 300 buses, I understand, up and down the line while they move people around to do the repairs,” Boughton said. Several Connecticut residents were forced to evacuate the crippled train, including Justin Kaback, 26, of Danbury.
“They smelled gas out front. We got to make our way to the back. At that point, I still didn't know that we had struck a vehicle. I just thought something was mechanically wrong with the train,” Kaback told CNN.
Another Connecticut resident, James Wallace, 44, of Ridgefield, told the Hartford Courant he was in the second car of the train at the time of the crash.
"You could see that there were flames in the first car," Wallace said, "People were starting to panic. We were just trying to get people to stay calm." Wallace told the Courant that he and others escaped the train to a nearby cemetery where he saw one man injured with a broken leg and another who lost both of his legs in the accident.
For continuing coverage of the accident, click here.