Driver of SUV, two others identified in Metro-North crash that killed six, injured dozens

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Driver Of SUV Identified In Deadly Metro-North Train Crash

VALHALLA, N.Y. (PIX11) - The driver of the SUV that was stopped on train tracks causing a Metro-North train to crash into it has been identified.

The crash killed six people, including the driver of the SUV, who has been identified as 49-year-old mother of three, Ellen Brody. Brody was returning home from her job at a Chappaqua jewelry design shop called ICD Contemporary Jewelry when she stopped at the crossing.

Officials said the victims included five men who were riding in the first car of the train. One of those men has been identified as 53-year-old Eric Vandercar, another is Walter Liedtke, a veteran curator at the Met. The identification of the other victims is still pending.

Several more people remain hospitalized Wednesday after the train crashed into Brody's Mercedes in Westchester County, but officials said the tragedy - which marks the agency's deadliest crash ever - could have been even worse.

RELATED: A look at victims of New York commuter train-SUV wreck

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene Wednesday morning to comb through the charred wreckage.

MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti are working with the NTSB on the investigation into the crash.

"The entire MTA family's thoughts are with the relatives and loved ones of the victims life last night's tragedy," Prendergast said in a press release Wednesday.

"We don't just want to find out what happened, but why it happened," NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said, soliciting help from the public to piece together the tragic events.

Anyone who saw the crash unfold - in the train or elsewhere - is urged to email investigators at witness@NTSB.gov.

What we know

It happened about 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Harlem Line when a train filled with passengers collided with a Mercedes, which was stopped on the tracks when the gates at the two-track Commerce Street crossing near Valhalla came down.

The driver was outside the vehicle when the train hit, shoving her SUV about 10 car lengths, the official said. The third rail pushed up from the track and rammed through the entire first car of the train, remarkably missing passengers. Some 400 feet of the third rail pierced the first car, breaking off into roughly 80-foot sections. At least one of those sections penetrated the second car, as well.

The fire was fueled by the gas from the Mercedes SUV, according to Sumwalt.

"The inside of that first car is melted and charred," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said, adding that he trouble sleeping after seeing the carnage.

Doctors and political leaders have remarked that the death toll and extent of victims' injuries could have been far worse but that does not undercut the severity of the crash.

One patient remained in critical condition midday Wednesday, a doctor with the Westchester County Medical Center said at an afternoon news conference.

One patient remained in serious condition, four were in fair condition and two were in good condition, the doctor said. Four others were discharged overnight.

Injuries ranged from cuts and dislocated limbs to burn injuries and smoke inhalation, doctors said.

Going forward

The shell of the train is expected to be removed from the tracks sometime Wednesday afternoon, Sumwalt said.

About 400 feet of track work is needed before trains can start rolling through that portion of the Harlem line, Astorino said in a Wednesday morning news conference. The third rail must also be replaced.

There was no estimated time of service restoration. Astorino said he has asked the MTA to consider the thousands of commuters who rely on that passageway every day.

"We've got busy days ahead of us," Sumwalt said.

Sumwalt did not have much in the way of details at a 7:30 a.m. news conference, and emphasized the same at an 11 a.m. news conference, saying the investigation has just begun.

He vowed to reporters that "the next time we meet, I'll have good, hard facts for you." Federal investigators may hold an afternoon news conference if new details emerge, Sumwalt said.

The on-the-ground investigation could last 5 to 7 days, but analysis of that data and a board vote on what actions to take next could take up to 12 months, according to Sumwalt.

The train's engineer and conductor survived the crash and will be key in the investigation.

They will be interviewed soon, Sumwalt said. Investigators are sensitive to the fact that they likely experienced mental and possible physical trauma in the crash.

Metro-North officials want riders to know that they're safe on the trains as the investigation continues.

"We want Metro-North's customers to know that they can remain confident that their safety, and the safety of our employees, is always the first priority in everything we do," Giulietti said. "We will work closely with the NTSB and local officials to determine the exact cause of this tragedy, and work to ensure such incidents are not repeated."

According to Metro-North officials, train service will remain suspended between Pleasantville and North White Plains until further notice.

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Driver of SUV, two others identified in Metro-North crash that killed six, injured dozens
For story suggestions please contact tips@nma.com.tw Investigators looking into a train collision in New York are focusing on why a car was stopped at a railroad crossing near White Plains north of New York City.
This photo provided by the Brody family shows an undated photo of Ellen Brody who was killed in the SUV that was hit by the train in New York Tuesday Feb. 3, 2015. The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into how familiar the SUV driver was with her car and her route, whether she was using a cellphone and whether the backed-up traffic played a role. (AP Photo/Family photo via Jeff Schaeffer)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train car that killed seven people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Robert Sumwalt, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, speaks at a press conference regarding a Metro-North train crash with a sport utility vehicle that occured last night on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed six people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: An official is carried on a stretcher after being injured at the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Wreckage of a sport utility vehicle is removed from the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and vehicle accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. A packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle on the tracks and the front of the train and the vehicle burst into flames, authorities said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Wreckage of a sport utility vehicle is removed from the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Journalists work near the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: An official is carried on a stretcher after being injured at the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: An official is carried on a stretcher after being injured at the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Officials inspect the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Officials inspect the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla, New York on February 4, 2015. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people and a dozen injured. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train car that killed seven people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train car that killed seven people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train car that killed seven people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train car that killed seven people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Officials inspect a Metro-North train crash with a sport utility vehicle that occured last night on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. The crash started a fire in the train cars that killed seven people, including the driver of the vehicle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
An investigator points to an SUV that was crushed and burned at the front of a Metro-North Railroad train, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Valhalla, N.Y. The commuter train slammed into the SUV stuck on the tracks Tuesday evening, killing the driver and at least five train passengers, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A paramedic in New York State says he's still in disbelief. Paramedic Angelo Ortiz was one of the first responders who treated people at the fatal train crash in Valhalla, New York.
Emergency personnel look at a rail of steel that punctured two cars of a Metro-North Railroad train at the site of an accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks and erupted into flames Tuesday night, killing several people and sending hundreds of passengers scrambling for safety, authorities said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Emergency personnel look over the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and an SUV in Valhalla, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 .A packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks and erupted into flames Tuesday night, killing at least five and sending hundreds of passengers scrambling for safety, authorities said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A sports utility vehicle remains crushed and burned at the front of a Metro North train Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Valhalla, N.Y. The commuter train slammed into the SUV stuck on the tracks Tuesday evening, killing the driver and several train passengers, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Emergency personnel look at a rail of steel that punctured two cars of a Metro-North Railroad train at the site of an accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks and erupted into flames Tuesday night, killing several people and sending hundreds of passengers scrambling for safety, authorities said.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A police officer walks by burned and blackened windows of a Metro-North train stopped on the tracks, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Valhalla, N.Y. The commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks Tuesday evening, killing the driver and six train passengers, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Officials examine the railroad crossing and the back of a Metro-North Railroad commuter train, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 in Valhalla, N.Y. Five train passengers and the SUV’s driver were killed in Tuesday evening’s crash in Valhalla, about 20 miles north of New York City. Authorities said the impact was so forceful the electrified third rail came up and pierced the train. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Investigators look at a Metro-North Railroad train, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Valhalla, N.Y. The commuter train slammed into an SUV stuck on the tracks Tuesday evening, killing the driver and at least five train passengers, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Emergency personnel dressed in protective suits look over the site of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad train and an SUV in Valhalla, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. A packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks and erupted into flames Tuesday night, killing several people and sending hundreds of passengers scrambling for safety, authorities said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A sports utility vehicle remains crushed and burned at the front of a Metro North train Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Valhalla, N.Y. The commuter train slammed into the SUV stuck on the tracks Tuesday evening, killing the driver and several train passengers, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A police officer walks in front of a Metro-North train stopped on the tracks, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Valhalla, N.Y. The commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks Tuesday evening, killing the driver and six train passengers, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers and other responders work at the scene of a train crash on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers and police investigate a Metro-North train crash on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers stand beside a burned out train car following a crash on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers and police investigate a Metro-North train crash on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: First responders work at the scene of a train accident on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least six people and injuring many more. (Photo by Andrew Delaney/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers and police investigate a Metro-North train crash on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and vehicle accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. A packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle on the tracks and the front of the train and the vehicle burst into flames, authorities said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and vehicle accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. A packed commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks and erupted into flames, authorities said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: First responders work at the scene of a train accident on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least six people and injuring many more. (Photo by Andrew Delaney/Getty Images)
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and vehicle accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. Metro-North Railroad spokesman Aaron Donovan says the train struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing about 20 miles north of New York City. (AP Photo/Robert Mecea)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: First responders work at the scene of a train accident on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least six people and injuring many more. (Photo by Andrew Delaney/Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY - FEBRUARY 3: Police investigate a Metro-North train crash on February 3, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
#BREAKING: Metro-North train hits car on tracks in Valhalla, officials say http://t.co/RAlEeUtWWc http://t.co/FxBOOupwmw
PHOTO: Firefighters spray water at scene of crash between car and New York commuter train: http://t.co/z2Oug24K23
JUST IN: MTA reports there are six dead in a Metro-North train collision in Valhalla, New York http://t.co/0WrjDY8CDg http://t.co/mjIjapXY9q
At least six dead after Metro-North train collides with car near White Plains: http://t.co/SjP4gOycWE http://t.co/4SZgEygd9Z
Crazy photo from the scene of the #metronorth train crash. It's the point of impact and looks devastating. http://t.co/PUaxKQSBuW
Several people feared dead after Metro-North train crashes into a car outside NYC http://t.co/Qo4Bxy2XaV http://t.co/BKCOXr3Cox
MTA confirms six dead in #MetroNorth crash in Valhalla. http://t.co/SUV9fpqttv
#BREAKING: Officials confirm 6 dead and 12 injured in commuter train crash in #Valhalla, New York. http://t.co/A7oAlTUDpx
#BREAKING update 6 dead. 5 on train, 1 driver. #MetroNorth #crash #Valhalla #NY Train vs 2 cars. @ least 12 hurt. http://t.co/WJMEXLIQSS
Multiple injuries reported after crash involving Metro-North train near White Plains, NY: http://t.co/ffUkTG0vfx http://t.co/b4Ehih4TfV
Terrible news out of Valhalla. Six killed in a train crash. Our story by @MattSpillane: http://t.co/K6kxlW7J1r http://t.co/onvi8MuLZz
WATCH LIVE: Chopper 4 @ Metro-North vs. car: massive emergency response, smoldering train cars http://t.co/EDDsjlrb6Q http://t.co/dZ3fCw7mox
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