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Cab driver charged in fatal taxi-train crash


Taxi, after being broadsided by the train

SAUGERTIES – A taxi driver from Kingston has been charged in connection with a fatal cab-train crash in Saugerties shortly before noon on February 16.

Saugerties Police charged the cabbie, Philip Prindle, 43, with felony failure to stop at a railroad crossing resulting in a fatal accident and a violation of failure to stop at a stop sign. Killed was a passenger, Bertha Whispell, 50, of Saugerties.

He was driving a van owned by Kingston Kabs, Inc. picking up a fare at the end of Doyle’s Lane in the Town of Saugerties. Prindle was driving west on Doyle’s Lane when he passed a posted stop sign and a CSX warning sign without first stopping and looking both ways before crossing railroad tracks.  He drove directly across the tracks into the path of an oncoming CSX engine. The engine struck the taxi resulting in injuries to Prindle and Rodney Smith, 52, a front seat passenger.

Whispell was in the rear of the cab and was ejected sustaining fatal injuries.

Video from the CSX engine and data recorder from the taxi established that Prindle did not stop and look before driving onto the tracks, police said.

At the time of the incident, Prindle submitted to a chemical test of his blood and alcohol, which established that drugs and alcohol were not a contributing factor resulting in the crash.

The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office and State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit assisted Saugerties Police in their investigation.

Prindle was processed and released pending a court appearance.

 


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