Train kills man at Little Neck railroad station

Authorities investigate the scene where a man was struck and killed by a train at the Little Neck Long Island Rail Road station. Photo by Steve Mosco
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A man believed to be in his 60s was struck and killed by an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train at the Little Neck station around 10:15 a.m. Thursday.

Authorities said the train sideswiped the man, who appeared to be crossing the tracks as the train approached. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is currently investigating the man’s death.

Workers at Ollie’s Taxi & Airport Service were in their office adjacent to the tracks when the train hit the unidentified man and were alerted by a driver who came running inside.

Leslie Nolette, a driver at Ollie’s, came upon the gruesome scene when she went outside to see what had happened. She said the man’s body was scattered along the tracks and she also noticed a woman standing dazed and motionless near the scene.

It was the man’s wife.

“I said, ‘Excuse me, are you okay?’ She looked at me and told me it was her husband,” Nolette said. “I gave her a hug and walked her away from the tracks.”

Other workers at Ollie’s said they did not hear the train sound its horn, leading them to believe the conductor never saw the doomed pedestrian. Jerry Dietrich and Jennifer Desousa, both employees at Ollie’s, said people are always ducking under the barriers at this station to get to the westbound platform.

“No one listens to the alarms and they ignore the barriers,” Dietrich said. “It’s just horrible.”

Desousa said she felt heartbroken for the wife.

“I can’t imagine what she’s feeling,” she said. “It’s so sad, especially around the holidays.”

State Sen. Tony Avella released a statement hours after the incident saying the Little Neck station had posed safety hazards for the community for quite some time.

“The problem stems from the fact that this station is the only LIRR station on the Port Washington line in Queens that is on ground level,” he said, adding that he has worked with the Department of Transportation and the LIRR to put possible safety measures in place at the station.

“At this time, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim,” he said. “We should take a look at what exactly happened and what additional steps can be taken to prevent such a horrific accident from occurring in the future.”

But at the present, drivers at Ollie’s are still shaken by what they witnessed this morning.

“I can’t get the sight of his body out of my head,” said Nolette. “It’s a vision no one wants to see.”

Posted 3:07 pm, December 13, 2012
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Reader feedback

KG2V from Bayside says:
Don't ignore the gates
Operation Lifesaver
Dec. 13, 2012, 10:16 pm
been there from Little Neck says:
I heard eye witnesses said that this man saw the westbound train coming and started to run across the tracks although he saw the barriers down.
The east and west bound trains come at almost the same time and he did not realize because of the noise of the westbound train that the eastbound train was so close to him.
Bottom line, if he respected the barriers, he would most likely be alive.
Dec. 14, 2012, 2:24 pm
Kevin Walsh from Little Neck says:
The problem is that the LIRR schedules the westbound and eastbound trains to arrive at about the same time at this grade crossing, and only has a ticket machine on the eastbound side. Hence there's a mad dash for the other side before the gate comes down.

Also, you risk missing the train (with an hour wait for the next one on weekends) if there's a 12-car eastbound in the station, you're blocked from crossing the tracks and the westbound comes.

The LIRR should alter the schedule so that both trains are not coming at the same time and place a ticket machine on the westbound side.
Dec. 14, 2012, 6:33 pm
T from Little Neck says:
Thank you, Kevin Walsh, for stating my sentiments exactly.

Adding to this is the fact that it is one of the few stations where the ticket machines and office are ONLY at one END of the track, as well as only on the south side, despite the fact that a considerable number of riders arrive at the station from the entrance at Nassau Road.

To not have a single ticket machine anywhere except for the westernmost edge, rather than in the center of the platform WHERE THE PEDESTRIAN OVERPASS is, is simply ridiculous
Dec. 14, 2012, 9:19 pm
E. de from little neck says:
There should be a ticket machine on the
west bound platform.
Dec. 27, 2012, 1:41 pm

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