Metro-North derailment survivor remembers sister who died

December 4, 2013 2:29:43 PM PST
Another family is remembering someone they lost in the Metro-North derailment. Linda Smith and her sister Donna were headed to Lincoln Center on Sunday morning when the train went off the tracks Donna was killed, while Linda survived.

"It happened so fast, but at the same time seemed to take forever," Linda Smith said

It's something she says she'll never forget.

"It was like crash, crash, crash, like bang, bang, bang and all of a sudden we were stopped and the car was sideways and I was just trying to figure out where she was," she explained.

Her best friend, Donna was Linda's everything - sisters, so close but yet so different.

"She was the English, Social studies person. I am the math, science person, and together we make one person," Linda said.

The ladies were riding in the front cart of that doomed Metro-North train, sitting side by side.

"We were just basically settling in and dozing off, pretty much the whole ride," she said.

That was until the train headed into that now infamous turn at Spuyten Duyvil going 82 miles per hour instead of 30. Linda was pinned in her seat.

"I just started calling for her because I looked next to me and she wasn't there. There were seat cushions on top of me," she said.

Then something caught her eye, outside of the train.

"I noticed the color of her jacket outside the car and then I looked outside of the car," Linda said.

She saw her big sister. Donna had been ejected from the train. Linda says she knew Donna was dead.

Linda miraculously was able to walk off the train. She was only bruised. At first, she refused to leave the scene.

"Because, I didn't want her to be alone," she said.

Donna, a paralegal, who sang with the church, volunteered, worked with the Girl Scouts and looked to Linda for support. Their mom died in 2011, and their father in 2002.

For now, Linda is cherishing every moment she spent with Donna.

"Everyone else needs to not focus on Sunday morning. It has to be about every moment and every day we had before that," she said.


Wake: Thursday 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Funeral: Friday 10:00 a.m.

Brooks Funeral Home
481 Gidney Ave, Newburgh, NY