‘Lucky’ driver struck by train in Mattituck

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | An SUV was struck by an eastbound LIRR train in Mattituck Wednesday. The driver was not seriously injured.

The driver of an SUV struck by an eastbound LIRR train in Mattituck Wednesday walked away with minor injuries, Southold Police on the scene said.

Juan Pablo Ramirez Lazaro, 25, of Mattituck attempted to drive around the crossing gate at Elijahs Lane heading south shortly before noon when a train struck the passenger side of his Nissan Frontier and flipped it on its side, police said.

“All he got was a scratch on his head,” said Southold Police Sergeant Thomas Hudock. “He’s very lucky.”

Mr. Lazaro was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital by Mattituck Ambulance, police said. Train #202 left Penn Station at 9:45 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Greenport at 12:07 p.m. It was unclear how fast the train was traveling when it struck the vehicle at 11:55 a.m.

Police said Mr. Lazaro was safely out of the car when first responders arrived. MTA police said the engineer confirmed the gates were down.

The train began moving again shortly before 2 p.m. delivering the only passenger on board safely to the Greenport station.

“It was a smooth happening,” said passenger Thomas Shedrick of Greenport, who was delayed about two hours. “No real jolts or anything like that. It was a quiet collision.

“It’s wonderful that the gentleman wasn’t hurt.”

A downed wire, which connects to the crossing gate, was still live for about an hour after the crash, which officials said was creating a hazard at the scene.

Elijahs Lane remained closed between Route 48 and Gabriella Court while Southold Town and MTA police continued to investigate. No charges had been filed as of 3:30 p.m., officials said.

“There will be a full investigation,” said MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena. “They have to come to some conclusion as to what happened.”

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