Blind woman killed by Amtrak train

Incident happened in Croton
March 18, 2008 4:21:50 PM PDT
An Amtrak train struck and killed a 75-year-old woman at a Westchester County train station Tuesday morning.The victim was a blind newsstand operator who rail commuters have known for more than four decades.

Eyewitness News reporter Joe Torres has the story.

Daughter Nance Cohen said she had the uneasy feeling that her mother was gone from the newsstand for a bit too long. So she came down to investigate, and what she saw, she will never forget.

She says there were people on the platform, begging and pleading with her mother to get off the tracks and away from an oncoming train.

She said she couldn't get down to the platform, and then she heard a thump.

And with that dreadful sound, Cohen's mother was gone. She was hit by a southbound Amtrak train about 8:30 a.m. at the Croton-Harmon station.

Teri Fiorentino was blind. She and her daughter ran the newsstand at the station.

Investigators and Nance say the elderly woman took an elevator down to the platform to smoke a cigarette and somehow fell on the tracks.

A witness tells Eyewitness News that Teri finished her cigarette and got back into the elevator. However, another passenger hit the button before the elevator moved and then got in. Teri apparently got out, thinking the elevator and already brought her up. Without her sight, she walked off the platform and fell onto the tracks.

Fiorentino ran the newsstand for 45 years, a local institution for the hundreds of people who commute to and from Manhattan each workday. Taxi driver Diego Posso knew Fiorentino for the past 10 years. He was there this morning when the tragedy occurred.

"We thought it was something not too bad," he said. "And then we hear about Teri and I feel so bad."

Meantime, a grieving Nance has no idea where her mom's body is located, while the questions surrounding this tragedy still haunt her.

"I had asked her before she went on the elevator, 'Are you ok?'" she said. "And she said, 'I know my way.'"