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Driver cited for ignoring warning gates in crash at dangerous Elmwood Park railroad crossing

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A BMW was struck by an NJ Transit commuter train overnight after the driver passed downed warning gates at a railroad crossing in Elmwood Park that authorities have labeled one of the most dangerous in the U.S.

Randa Sayegh, 55, of Yonkers and her passenger were taken to the hospital after complaining of back and neck injuries in the crash just after 1 a.m. at the Midland Avenue crossing, responders said.

No other injuries were reported, NJT’s Nancy Snyder told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.

NJ Transit police issued Sayegh a summons for disregarding a downed warming gate after her car was struck by the train bound for Port Jervis through Suffern, she said.

“We also consider it important to urge everyone to obey the safety signal warnings in and around all railroad crossings,” Snyder said.

Before this morning, no fewer than 10 crashes occurred over the past decade at the crossing, where Midland Avenue intersects at a sharp angle with the tracks.

Although some have blamed traffic backups that leave motorists no escape once they’r eon the tracks, emergency responders frequently have told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that more crashes have been caused by those who deliberately drive around downed warning gates.

In recent years, NJ Transit has installed additional signals, enhanced the signage and removed obstructions — trees, bushes, billboards — that could block motorists’ view.

Earlier this month, NJT and the state Department of Transportation began work on an $800,000 improved-safety project that includes, among other measures, a new lighting system that will stop traffic from getting backed up onto the tracks and “Do Not Block the Box” road striping.

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