WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Three people were killed and service was suspended along several Long Island Rail Road lines Tuesday night after officials say a Manhattan-bound train from Ronkonkoma struck a truck on the tracks near Westbury station.
Chopper 2 was over the scene as first responders rushed to help commuters after the train collided with the station, piercing the front car and destroying several feet of the concrete platform.
Nassau County police say the truck, which was struck by LIRR trains going in both directions, was allegedly attempting to beat the railway crossing gates before they closed.
Officials say all three occupants of the truck were killed in the crash.
LIRR President Phillip Eng said Tuesday night that about 800 people were on board the train at the time of the accident, all of their injuries are said to be minor. Seven people have reportedly been taken to a local hospital for treatment.
CBS2’s Valerie Castro spoke with several of the passengers on board the derailed train. Kiara Jackson was with her children when the railroad came to a sudden and violent stop.
“We felt a thud, a really hard thud, and the breaks just snapped. It felt crazy. It was nothing that I ever experienced before.”
The Ronkonkoma and Huntington/Port Jefferson branches were suspended in both directions as emergency crews responded to the scene just east of the station.
The LIRR advised customers to take alternative branches including the Babylon, Montauk, or Hempstead lines. Eng added that shuttle service was being set up to ferry commuters from Hicksville to points beyond on Long Island.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman spoke with several commuters at New York’s Penn Station stranded in the city due to the massive service disruption.
“There’s nothing on the board for Port Jefferson for the next three hours so I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” George Russ said.
The violent derailment sent several feet of that platform into the cabin of the westbound train’s forward car.
Sources tell CBS2 that the eastbound LIRR train, carrying about 100 passengers, was just pulling out of the Westbury station when the wrecked truck was sent into its path as well.
Local branches of the Red Cross have also mobilized and are helping the passengers on the damaged trains.
Stick with CBS New York for more on this developing story.