Updated July 10, 4:45 p.m.
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI AND ANTHONY GIUDICE
Footage from a garbage truck’s dashboard camera depicts Wednesday’s fiery collision between a train and tractor-trailer in Maspeth early that morning — as well as an apparently slow railroad crossing gate.
The video was shot from a Filco Carting rig traveling westbound on Maspeth Avenue approaching Rust Street, stopping before the four-track crossing on the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) Montauk branch where the accident occurred at about 12:37 a.m.
As shown in the video, the tractor-trailer heading eastbound on Maspeth Avenue was passing over the tracks when a New York and Atlantic Railway (NYA) locomotive heading southbound —with horns blaring — smashed into the trailer.
The gates, however, were up when the train hit the truck, which was dragged a distance and burst into flames. The red lights on the gates activated a split-second before impact, and the video shows the crossing gate lowering as the train and truck pass out of the picture.
Officers from the 104th Precinct and EMS units responded to the accident; the driver escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to WABC-TV, Filco Carting installed dash cams on all of its rigs as a safety measure.
An LIRR spokesperson said on Thursday that the NYA is responsible for the condition and maintenance of the railroad crossing gate; the NYA leases the Montauk branch west of Jamaica from the LIRR for its freight operations.
However, a source with the NYA said the issue is “complicated.” The NYA is the main operator of the crossing gate, but both entities are jointly responsible for the gate’s maintenance.
Congresswoman Grace Meng said that while she is “thankful that nobody was killed, we must get answers as to why this happened.”
“The video showing the freight train crashing into a tractor-trailer is extremely scary — and it’s very disturbing that the gate at the railroad crossing failed to come down in time,” Meng said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “I have been in touch with all stakeholders pertaining to this accident, and I am being kept up-to-date on the investigation. … The crossing gate cannot be allowed to fail again. The safety of train personnel, motorists and area residents must not be compromised.”