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One Person Hurt When LIRR Train Strikes Car In Patchogue; Push On For Safety Upgrades

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A Long Island Rail Road train struck a car in Patchogue on Tuesday morning, the second such LIRR crash in as many days.

The repeated grade crossing accidents have spurred calls for federal legislation to improve railroad safety.

The collision took place around 12:09 p.m. at the crossing on Rider Avenue.

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The door of the car had to be cut off so that the driver, identified as Gary Calderone, could be removed. The 67-year-old from Shirley was placed on a backboard before being taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

One Person Hurt When LIRR Train Strikes Car In Patchogue

Officials said the railroad gates were down at the time of the accident. A witness said the driver of the gray Ford Focus went around the gate and was struck on the driver's side.

None of the 13 people aboard the train, which left Babylon at 11:27 a.m., were injured.

Authorities said Calderone was given a summons for driving around the railroad gates.

The tracks on Rider Avenue are next to Swezey Fuel Company. An employee there said the car slammed into the building after being struck by the train.

Car Struck By Train In Patchogue
A car struck by an LIRR train in Patchogue on March 3, 2015. (credit: CBS2)

"It sounded like a train was derailing," the man said. "We could feel the vibration. And the train goes by every day. This was not like that."

Lee Harrison also witnessed the incident.

"It's crazy," Harrison said. "These people are in such a rush to get somewhere. You don't go through when the gates are down."

Footage from the scene showed the crushed car resting near the wall of the Swezey Fuel building. The railroad crossing sign was also demolished.

Service on the Montauk branch between Patchogue and Speonk was suspended briefly after the accident.

On Monday, an LIRR train traveling from Long Beach to Penn Station struck a sport-utility vehicle at a crossing in East Rockaway.

Jennifer Garvey was driving to work on when her SUV was struck.

Garvey, 63, of St. Albans, Queens, said she did not even know she'd been hit until after the fact.

"I look up, and then I realized I got in an accident, and I was so scared," Garvey said.

She remembers gaining consciousness when paramedics pulled her from the crushed vehicle.

"I panicked at first," she said. "I was in the ambulance shaking, and the lady was telling me to keep calm."

Garvey was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside with neck and back injuries.

The two LIRR scares happened a month after a Metro-North train killed a woman in an SUV on the tracks, and five others on board the train, in a crash and fire in Valhalla, Westchester County.

As CBS2's Weijia Jiang reported, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., is trying to pass federal legislation to improve safety measures at crossings.

"We were able to act very quickly following the tragedy in Valhalla. And working across the aisle, we put language in the bill that is moving this week in Congress," Maloney said. "I think we're going to get it through the House tomorrow."

Last year, grade crossing accidents killed four people in the Tri-State Area, and injured many others – seven in New York state, 16 in New Jersey and 10 in Connecticut.

The Federal Railroad Administration has been trying to reduce those numbers with a new campaign, which includes working more closely with law enforcement to keep drivers off the tracks.

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