Witness says passenger drove LIRR train

July 17, 2009 3:48:50 PM PDT
It could have led to a disaster on the Long Island Railroad. Prosecutors now say they're investigating an engineer who allegedly allowed a passenger to operate one of the trains, a double decker train on a 25-mile stretch between Hicksville, Long Island and Hunterspoint Avenue in Queens.

"At minimum, we have a serious violation of railroad policy?that put thousands of people across the island at risk," said Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney.

The reason the trains are pretty hard to run is engineers need a federal license, and more than a year's worth of training to do the job.

"This is extremely dangerous and troubling allegation," said Joe Calderone, LIRR spokesman. The allegation came from a passenger aboard a 6:45 a-m westbound train from Port Jefferson back on July 2nd.

It was a passenger who witnessed another passenger inside the engineer's cab, and prosecutors are encouraging anyone else on that train, to come forward.

As authorities try to explain the magnitude of what could have gone wrong on the stretch of tracks across Long Island.


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