2 hospitalized after LIRR train strikes 2 cars at crossing

Investigators on the scene of Thursday's train crash in Riverhead. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)
Investigators on the scene of Thursday’s train crash in Riverhead. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Two people were hospitalized after two cars were hit by a Long Island Rail Road train at a railroad crossing on Mill Road Thursday afternoon, police officials confirmed.

According to Sgt. Jonathan Devereaux, though the accident is still under investigation, a preliminary investigation shows a Honda CRV headed northbound rear-ended a Mercedes sedan in front of the tracks, causing the accident about 1:30 p.m.

A witness to the crash said he was waiting at a red light when the crash happened.

“I saw the silver Mercedes drive by me,” he said. “[The woman] was eating an ice cream. The SUV rammed her car onto the tracks and literally 15 seconds or less later with the train’s horn blasting I heard ‘boom.’

“I thought for sure the lady in the Mercedes was dead,” the witness added. “I hope everyone is OK.”

A police helicopter lands in front of Office Max on Route 58. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)
A police helicopter lands in front of Office Max on Route 58. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Riverhead firefighters set up a landing zone near Tanger Outlet Center for an medical airlift; one person was airlifted to Stony Brook Hospital and another transported to the hospital by ground by Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance, Sgt. Devereaux said.

The individual who was airlifted had “serious, but not life-threatening” injuries, according to Sgt. Devereaux.

There were about 20 people on board the train at the time of the accident.

Shelter Island resident Keturah Hurst, 49, was on board the train when it collided with the cars. The train had just left the Riverhead station, so it hadn’t picked up to full steam speed, she said.

“There wasn’t a big impact,” she said. “Actually, you couldn’t really tell what had happened at first. No one was screaming or anything.”

The Long Island Railroad sent a tweet saying the train from Greenport to Ronkonkoma, which left at 12:58 p.m., was delayed.

MTA Police is on scene investigating.

Check back for further information as it becomes available.