Written by Carol Frank Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00
On Sunday morning, June 2, service on the Long Island Rail Road was shut down for almost two hours in both directions after a car drove off the upper parking deck behind a health club on Barstow Road, careening through a chain link fence, landing and rolling approximately 50 feet below on the LIRR’s northern embankment.
According to incident commander, Vigilant Fire Chief Laurence Jacobs, after the car had crashed and rolled over, the driver was able to escape the vehicle and climb up the steep embankment unassisted. He was evaluated on the site by the Vigilant’s EMTs and was transported to North Shore Hospital for further examination.
Chief Jacobs said, “It was just 7:20 that morning when we got the call ... but it sure wasn’t a typical car accident. Everyone was just amazed that the guy walked away afterwards. He said that his gas pedal got stuck.”
Such an incident required the coordination of a host of accident and emergency specialists. Along with the Vigilants fire and EMT units were Nassau County Police, the Nassau County Fire Marshal Haz-Mat unit, the MTA Police and LIRR personnel, all of whom had a role to play. The Haz-Mat team had to examine the fluids that had spilled from the 2011 Toyota Prius before trains could be released to run again.
Chief Jacobs went on to add that the next big push was getting the car pulled up the embankment. He told the Great Neck Record: “I have to give Sean Fagan a lot of credit. He secured the car by two axels and lifted it up to the lower parking lot ... really it boiled down to using brute strength.”
Sean Fagan told the Record that first he had to prep the site, cutting through a chain link fence to make way for the car that was lifted by 2-inch winch cables and pulled into the lower parking lot. He had a heavy duty truck on standby as well had it been needed. Fagan, too, expressed amazement at the morning’s events, “I saw the guy later and he just had a band aid on his arm.”
MTA spokesman, Aaron Donovan later confirmed that the 58-year- old man, whose name was not released, only had minor injuries, but we can certainly nickname him “Lucky.”