CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- A vehicle became stuck at a Chappaqua railroad grade crossing on Saturday and was able to get out after breaking the gate, New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein announced.
The incident came just days after New Castle town officials and two members of Congress gathered near the same intersection to push for federal legislation to help with crossing safety.
The driver, identified as a woman, was under a gate when it came down and as a train was coming, Greenstein said, adding that she backed the vehicle up and the gate broke off.
New Castle Police received a call at 10:50 a.m. about a vehicle being stuck on the tracks at Roaring Brook Road, Greenstein stated.
A desk officer subsequently contacted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to have trains halted and for getting the MTA Police dispatched, according to the supervisor.
"At Monday's press conference, Congressman Maloney and Congresswoman Lowey reminded us that these gates are meant to break away," Greenstein said in a statement. "Who knows, they might have saved a life today.
"Today's incident reinforces the need to eliminate these on grade railroad crossings. We will continue to do everything we can to prevent another tragedy from happening, including educating the public on railroad crossing safety."
Greenstein, answering a follow-up question, explained that preliminary reports indicated that traffic was backed up from the Saw Mill River Parkway.
"She was heading West," Greenstein wrote about the preliminary information. "She kept inching forward. She found herself on the tracks when the arm came down and the train was coming. She threw her car in reverse and broke through."
The supervisor, who is seeking federal funding to replace the grade crossing with a bridge, has noted its proximity to the parkway's interchange and to Horace Greeley High School as issues.
New Castle Police records show that over the last 10 years, there have been 14 reported problems with the warning gates at the crossing, Greenstein noted, adding that Westchester County's records indicate there have been 490 accidents at the interchange since 2006.
The issue of grade-crossing safety has gained new prominence and publicity in the region due to last month's deadly train crash with a vehicle in Valhalla. The six fatalities and the various injured survivors have received extensive media coverage in the aftermath.
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