In the wake of the death of a Maine woman who was struck by a train on the Saugatuck Railroad Bridge, State Senator Richard Blumenthal D-Connecticut is calling for Metro-North Railroad to adopt a policy of immediately notifying local authorities whenever a train hits an object.
Blumenthal made the request for additional notification in a letter to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast.
Annette L. White, 46, died of blunt impact injuries when struck from behind by a westbound train about 6:40 p.m. Thursday, just east of the Saugatuck station, as she crossed the bridge in an apparent effort to reach the depot. The impact caused White to tumble into the Saugatuck River beneath the span, where her body was found near the mouth of the river about 9:15 a.m. Friday by a duck hunter in a kayak.
The train engineer stopped the train to inspect the outside of the train after thinking the train might have hit something, but an emergency stop and the suspected hit were not reported to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police.
“This tragic incident demonstrates dramatically a continued failure in safety policies and culture. Basic common sense and professional protocols should require immediate notification of MTA police, local authorities and possibly emergency responders. There currently appears to be no such requirement. If a train hits any object — especially a human being — failure to transmit such information right away seems to contradict fundamental safety requirements.”