January 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM
LITTLE FALLS, NJ - About 8:20am this morning, reports came in to the West Essex TAP of a train accident at Main Street in Little Falls which had just occured. The accident was directly in front of the Rare Steak House at 440 Main Street, by Fairfield Avenue.
According to Maureen Todd, her husband was alerted that a train had just hit a truck which had stalled on the tracks.
At a 10:30am Press Conference held at the scene of the incident, New Jersey Transit Senior Director of Communications, John Durso, Jr., updated the crowd of New York / New Jersey media with the latest information.
The NJ Transit Train remains out of service after hitting a tractor trailer truck at the Main Street Crossing. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Durso related that at 8:15am, an Eastbound NJ Transit Train hit a tractor trailer truck that was stuck at the Main Street Crossing. The truck was attempting to make a tight right turn when the railroad gates came down on top ot it, and the driver was unable to continue through the turn. As the truck remained disabled, the train was unable to stop in time and hit the truck. The driver was in the truck at the time of impact; he was apprently uninjured.
NJ Transit Senior Director of Communications, John Durso, Jr., updated the crowd of New York / New Jersey media with the latest information. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Durso reported that a summons may be issued to the tractor trailer driver.
71 passengers were on the commuter train. 10 injuries were reported: 8 were minor and 2 were considered serious.
The 8 minor injuries included a firefighter whose shoulder was hurt while he was getting people out of the train. All of the injured were transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, and St. Mary's Hospital in Passaic.
The remaining passengers were taken by NJ Transit bus to the Little Falls and Mountain View train depots.
Of the two seriously injured, one was a NJ Transit employee and one was a crossing guard from the Little Falls School District. The female guard was hit by flying debris from the collision.
“My husband said the truck is shredded to bits and that the place looked like a war zone,” related Todd. “His business partner ran out when he heard the crash and saw the crossing guard laying there. She may have been hit by debris, “ stated Todd.
Jarrad Navarro was getting dressed in a home across the street from the accident. He explained, "I was getting ready for work. I heard a sound so loud I thought it was a transformer blowing up. I ran outside to see what was happening and the first thing I saw was the crossing guard laying in the road. She looked really hurt, with no coat on, laying on the cold ground."
The truck was carrying containers of yellow paint which ended up being spilled all over the road. While the scene now is all partitioned off, Navarro still had paint on his shoes from walking near the trailer truck before police cleared out the area.
The Little Falls School District alerted parents that transportation to the school was going to be diffiult. They also posted a message on their website stating:
MONDAY, JANUARY 28TH
LITTLE FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT BUSES ARE RUNNING LATE THIS MORNING THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT. ALL STUDENTS ARE SAFE. PLEASE BE PATIENT AS BUSES ARE BEING REROUTED. THANK YOU.
Melissa Pena of Little Falls was in her kitchen at the time of the accident. "I heard a huge boom, I thought it was maybe a car crash, but it was too loud. My older son had already left for school on the school bus. The school bus couldn't get through, so soon he came back home. The school called all the parents that it was going to be hard for the buses to get there. So I drove him myself, it took me 45 minutes, and it usually takes me 5 minutes."
Emergency personnel from Passaic and Essex Counties gather along Main Street.
Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Emergency personnel responded from:
- New Jersey Transit Police
- New Jersey Rail Operators
- Little Falls
- Cedar Grove
- St. Joseph's
The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office was on the scene as well.
Main Street, from Borough Hall down to Rt. 23, is now closed off as police work to investigate the accident.
Credit: Google Maps