A witness to the fatal collision between a Metro-North train and a SUV in a New York City suburb said he urged the car's driver to back off the rail crossing in the moments before she was hit.
Rick Hope, deputy commissioner of the White Plains Department of Public Works, said he was in traffic directly behind the Mercedes SUV in Valhalla, New York, on Tuesday when the crossing gate closed on the back of the vehicle.
Hope said the SUV's driver, a woman, got out of the vehicle. He motioned to her to back up - the SUV was stuck between the gate and the rail track - but he isn't sure if she saw him.
"I just remember the hurry up part, saying to myself, 'Hurry up, the clock is ticking here and you need to make a move or something,'" he said Wednesday.
The woman then got back into her car and drove forward.
"It hit just like that and she was gone," Hope said. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think she'd go forward."
When the train finally stopped, the last car was in front of him.
"It was a crunching sound," he said of the impact. "It was that raw metal on metal car crash sound."
The SUV driver was killed in the collision, along with five train passengers.
— Tracy Jarrett Jon Schuppe and Miranda Leitsinger