VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The NTSB is getting ready to release the results of its investigation into a devastating train crash in Westchester County.
Six people were killed when a train smashed into cars on the tracks more than two years ago in Valhalla.
Alan Brody showed CBS2’s Lou Young a picture of his wife as she looked when they first met. He’s preparing to move out of the Scarsdale house they lived in together — her loss still gnaws at him.
“We’re at a stage where we accept this was meant to be. It doesn’t make it right, we think she was a kind of sacrifice,” Alan said.
Ellen was behind the wheel of an SUV that became caught in heavy traffic on the railroad crossing at commerce street in Valhalla.
“Anyone with half a brain can see that’s a dangerous crossing,” Alan said.
A final report from the National Transportation Safety Board is expected soon, but there are hints about what could come in the preliminary documents already on file.
Brody said he expects the failure of a so-called ‘pre-emptive’ traffic light system for cars to be one of the primary causes.
The light is controlled by the State Department of Transportation on the Taconic Parkway where Commerce crosses. Theoretically the system should’ve turned it green to keep the area around the crossing clear of traffic, but the NTSB said it didn’t work that way on the night of the accident.
The traffic was backed up from the intersection past the railroad crossing. A state DOT spokesperson pushed blame back to the driver saying, “Cars are never supposed to be on the tracks ever.”
Brody said it hurt.
“Of course it hurts me, but I understand why they’re doing it. They want to cover their rear ends,” he said.
The crossing remains essentially the way it was the night of the accident with one exception — a sign on the approach.
“Now, with all that’s happened to my wife, what they’re concerned about is a truck might catch its belly on the track. That’s what they’re concerned about,” Brody said.
An MTA spokesman said they’re waiting for the NTSB’s findings and recommendations which are due sometime this spring.
Although Ellen Brody was killed on impact, other victims died when the dislodged third rail punctured the lead car allowing flaming gasoline to pour inside.