NJ Transit train collides with tractor-trailer, snarling evening commute

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-21 18:21:59-04

The driver of the blue tractor trailer cab was in big trouble, stranded on the train tracks at noon Friday in Garfield, New Jersey.

An eyewitness tells Pix11’s Andrew Ramos that for whatever reason, the driver didn’t call police for help before the impact.

“As I was coming, I seen the truck was stuck on the tracks. His landing gear was stuck. And then the cross gear came down. And then the locomotive, for five minutes, was blowing the horn. And then next thing you know, he smacked that thing hard!” said Daryl Moss.

The driver, who identified himself as Donald Brown, of Florence South Carolina, was carrying a non-toxic load of plastic pellets to a nearby plant.

He ran away from the tracks before the impact, but surely shaken up.

So was Xavier Sowinski.

“Me and my sister were a little scared. Because, like I said, stuff like this just doesn’t happen in Garfield,” said Sowinski.

But A NJ Transit spokesperson says of the 38 people on board the train three suffered various, minor injuries.

The real damage, however, will be to the daily commute.

“The big question is going to be the impact of the evening rush hour. There is going to be an impact. I can tell you service is currently suspended on the Bergen line between Ridgewood and Secaucus. This is actually a busy line — the Bergen line in particular. Several thousand daily boardings occur,” said NJ Transit Spokesperson John Durso.

 38 customers on board train were transported by bus to their final destination. There was track damage, so it’s going to take at least a few days to make the repairs in order to restore service to the busy Bergen line.

This accident seems like an isolated incident, but keep in mind commuters in the communities of Garfield, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, and Ridgewood all rely on this Bergen line.

The only saving grace — strictly in terms of the commute — is that this happened on a Friday, which will give crews Saturday and Sunday to get a head start in order to hopefully limit the impact on next week’s daily commute.