Friday, February 17, 2017

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Deadly Saugerties railroad grade crossing had blind curve, no gate

SAUGERTIES – Authorities are still investigating the fatal train-car accident on Doyles Lane in Saugerties, which snarled lunchtime traffic on Kings Highway for several hours Thursday afternoon.

The twin locomotives traveling towards Kingston, on a local delivery run, struck a taxi operated by Phillip Prindle, 43, of Kingston Kab company at Doyles Lane. The private grade crossing, located about a half mile south of Thruway Exit 20, has no safety gate.


Taxi, after being broadsided by the train

Sign, advising of at-grade crossing ahead

Killed in the collision was back seat passenger Bertha Whispell, 50, of Saugerties, who was thrown from the vehicle. The driver and another passenger, Rodney Smith, 52, were taken to Health Alliance Hospital Emergency Room in Kingston. Injuries were non-life-threatening.

CSX Railroad spokesman Rob Doolittle said there were no injuries to the crew of the train. The locomotives eventually departed, but subsequent freight trains were delayed until the wreckage was cleared several hours later.

A witness in one of the nearby homes said she heard the crash, and dialed 911. Traumatized by the event, she declined further comment.

Doyles Lane is a short private road which crosses the railroad tracks, at a spot where the right-of-way veers from adjacent Old Kings Highway. Southbound freight trains approach from a bend in the rock cut, with only 75 feet of advance visibility.

A stop sign posted on both sides of the tracks warns motorists to look both ways, before crossing.  The other side of the dead-end road has three homes.

 


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