Home / National News / Metro-North Tragedy: Investigators Want to Know Why Woman Drove onto Tracks


(VALHALLA, N.Y.) — Officials investigating a train-car collision in Westchester County, New York, Thursday are examining physical evidence at the scene and units that recorded train and car signals — but they say they can’t get away from a question at the core of the case: Why would an SUV driver pull forward into the path of an oncoming train?

“We’re going to do everything we can to try and understand that key fact: Why was that car stopped on the tracks?” National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Robert Sumwalt said Thursday.

A motorist who said he was in the car behind Ellen Brody, 49, a mother of three, told ABC News after Tuesday’s accident that he even backed up to allow Brody to get out of harm’s way.

“I’m waiting for her to back up and she moves forward,” Rick Hope said. “And she moves forward probably 15 feet right in front of the train. She looked very calm and she took what I thought was an awful long time because I’m thinking the clock is ticking here. The lights are flashing, the gate’s down, you don’t have much time. And I didn’t know what to do. I indicated that I was backing up…but she looked at me — I know she did. She got in and all I can imagine is she was trying to make it to the other side.”

Metro-North train service resumed Thursday morning at the site of Tuesday’s deadly collision that killed Brody and five passengers. Service had been shut down in the area around the crash site, which happened near Valhalla on the service’s Harlem Line.

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