NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman shared her frightening story Tuesday about getting struck by a Long Island Rail Road train at a crossing this week.
As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported exclusively, Jennifer Garvey was driving to work on Monday when an oncoming LIRR train hit her sport-utility vehicle in East Rockaway.
“Like a shock,” Garvey said. “It’s just like if somebody shocks you with something.”
Metropolitan Transportation Authority police said the 12:09 p.m. Long Beach Branch train, from Long Beach to Penn Station, hit a Toyota Highlander SUV at the Rocklyn Avenue grade crossing in East Rockaway around 12:25 p.m. Monday.
A witness told authorities the SUV driver was heading south on Rocklyn Avenue when she drove onto the grade crossing despite flashing red warning lights and crossing gate bells ringing as the train approached the intersection.
“I couldn’t believe I was – there’s this train that came and hit me,” Garvey said.
Garvey, 63, of St. Albans, Queens, said she did not even know she’d been hit until after the fact.
“I look up, and then I realized I got in an accident, and I was so scared,” Garvey said.
She remembers gaining consciousness when paramedics pulled her from the crushed vehicle.
“I panicked at first,” she said. “I was in the ambulance shaking, and the lady was telling me to keep calm.”
Garvey only suffered whiplash and a few bumps and bruises. She said Tuesday that it was unclear why she blacked out.
“The policeman told me that God saved my life,” she said.
The scare happened a month after a Metro-North train killed a woman in an SUV on the tracks, and five others on board the train, in a crash and fire in Valhalla, Westchester County.
Lawmakers from New York state and around the country have called for improved safety measures, urging Congress to pass a passenger railroad bill.
“What we are doing today is acting now in a bipartisan fashion to save lives before we have another tragic accident on Metro-North or elsewhere,” said U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.).
Garvey strongly supports such a measure as well.
“What I think is God saved me,” she said.
Garvey was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside with neck and back injuries following the accident, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported Monday.
MTA police said debris from the collision was spread over both eastbound and westbound tracks, forcing the temporary suspension in both directions.
Police did give Garvey a ticket for driving through a railroad crossing gate. She will face a judge next month.
On Tuesday, another vehicle was struck by an LIRR train in Patchogue. The latest accident took place around 12:09 p.m. at the crossing on Rider Avenue.
The door of the car had to be cut off so that the driver, identified as Gary Calderone, could be removed. The 67-year-old from Shirley was placed on a backboard before being taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Officials said the railroad gates were down at the time of the accident. A witness said the driver of the gray Ford Focus went around the gate and was struck on the driver’s side.