MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island Rail Road Service is back to normal after a train slammed into a minivan, disrupting the morning rush.
The Brooklyn-bound train with more than 400 people onboard slammed into the vehicle at the Franklin Avenue crossing in Malverne shortly after 7 a.m. Monday.
Chopper 2 was live over the scene:
The MTA said the West Hempstead branch train was just pulling out of the Malverne station, slowly getting up to speed, when it struck the minivan, which was pushed 250 feet down the tracks.
Witnesses say the gates at the railroad crossing were down, and the driver, behind the wheel of a black minivan, pulled out of traffic and went through the gates on the track, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“You felt it happen and then there was sparks coming from the side along,” Diane, who was on the train, said.
The MTA told CBS2 it appears the guard rails were functioning properly and working.
Authorities say the driver, believed to be a man in his 40s, was unconscious as he was pulled from the vehicle. He was taken to a nearby hospital but there was no official word on his condition.
No one on the train was injured, authorities said.
“If this train was up at full speed it would be a whole lot worse,” Malverne Fire Chief Richard Bopp said.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, hundreds of passengers were removed from the train, put on buses, and taken to the Valley Stream train station.
Service on the West Hempstead branch was suspended for much of the morning as crews assessed the potential damage to the tracks and made repairs to the third rail.
The train has since been removed from the scene and service is back to normal on the West Hempstead branch.