Driver seeks rail crash video
Published 9:43 am, Wednesday, January 11, 2012
STAMFORD -- An 80-year-old Greenwich woman whose Cadillac collided with a Metro-North Railroad train on the New Canaan line at a Springdale rail crossing has taken legal action to force Riverbend Center, owner of the office park through which the track runs, to provide video of the crash and other information.
In a complaint filed in state Superior Court in Stamford on Dec. 21, Theresa Apruzzese's North Haven attorney, Daniel J. Seiden, said requests made for the footage of the Sept. 27 accident, as well as other train-car collisions, have been turned aside by Riverbend Center LLC and its legal counsel.
"The plaintiff in this action submits that in order to evaluate the potential for a claim arising from the subject accident access to the video tape recordings, documentation of the accident, ... and documentation about any prior or subsequent accidents at the ... crossing ... is necessary," the complaint states.
Seiden did not return calls for comment Tuesday; Apruzzese declined comment.
Jonathan Turner, facilities manager for Riverbend Center LLC, said he told Seiden to seek the records from Metro-North Railroad, but declined further comment.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department said Apruzzese's 1991 Cadillac DeVille was struck at the Riverbend Drive South crossing shortly after noon on Sept. 27 by the 11:57 a.m. train out of Stamford.
Salvatore Arena, a Metro-North spokesman, said the MTA determined Apruzzese was at fault.
Arena said MTA police have a video of the accident, but will not release it without a formal request or court-approved subpoena for it.
Apruzzese's accident was the first of two in 2011, and one of three in the past three years at the crossing.
On Nov. 17, Marie Mojica, 58, a newspaper carrier for The Advocate, was also injured when the left rear side of her Ford station wagon was hit by an empty train just after 5 a.m. as she was leaving The Advocate inside the Riverbend Drive South complex. The Advocate is a Riverbend tenant.
MTA police said flashing lights and bells at the crossing were reported to be working at the time of both accidents, and cited Mojica for failure to comply with railroad crossing control devices on a private road.
Unlike other crossings on the New Canaan Line, the Riverbend Drive South crossing does not have gates, only signals and cross-buck signs.
The state Department of Transportation determines the required amount of warning devices needed at railroad crossings. The amount of traffic at Riverbend Drive South did not require the installation of gates, DOT spokesman Judd Everhart said last month.
In August 2008, a car driven by a teenage female was struck by a train at the crossing. She suffered minor injuries.
Staff Writer Martin B. Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-964-2264.