Why did Ellen Brody, a 49-year-old mom drive her car onto the Commerce Street railroad tracks in Mt. Pleasant, New York?

Ellen Brody got caught up in a traffic jam on the Taconic Parkway and decided to get off the Parkway to go around the jam by taking Commerce Street. According to the NTSB via lohud.com, as she approached the Commerce Street railroad crossing gates, she kept on going, and then heard the gate come down and hit the trunk of her car. She then stopped the car and got out to see what happened, got back into her Mercedes, and drove onto the tracks.

The NTSB investigation found that the train's horn could be heard from over 350 feet away, not to mention the bells and whistles at the actual crossing. So why didn't Ellen Brody hear the loud train whistle and all the warning signals? The official word from the NTSB is that they spent a large amount of time trying to figure out Brody's mindset. Kenny Bragg from the NTSB told the Danbury Daily Voice:

There are numerous possibilities. We examined every circumstance and there is not a definitive conclusion.

When the investigation was complete, the NTSB concluded that Ellen Brody was at fault for the deadly accident due to unforeseen circumstances. According to Lohud.com, her husband, Alan Brody, vehemently disagreed with the findings saying:

The NTSB are a bunch of people looking to protect the past. They've done nothing from the point of view of the driver! This a result of an antiquated rail crossing system.

The NTSB also mentioned in their report that Brody might have "lost situational awareness", meaning she might have been focusing strongly on something else and had forgotten where she was.

I have questions. Have you ever had a close call with a speeding train? Do you think this accident was Ellen Brody's fault or the fault of an antiquated railroad crossing?

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