Engineer in deadly Hoboken crash had 29 years of railroad experience
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HOBOKEN —The engineer who was at the controls of a train that crashed at the Hoboken terminal Thursday, killing one woman and injuring 108 people, had nearly three decades of railroad experience.
Thomas Gallagher, a 29-year employee of NJ Transit, has been identified by NJ Transit Spokeswoman Nancy Snyder as the engineer who was operating a passenger train when it failed to stop and crashed at the station during the Thursday morning rush hour.
Immediately following the fatal crash, Gallagher, 48, was taken to an area hospital. During a press conference late Thursday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that he had been released and was cooperating with investigators looking into the incident. Snyder said NTSB officials plan to interview him regarding the events leading up to the crash.
A union roster shows Gallagher started working as an engineer about 18 years ago. He is married with teenage daughter. Authorities say he was seen slumped over the controls after his train rammed through a barrier and came to a rest in the waiting area.
The incident killed 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon. The married Hoboken woman had just dropped off her baby daughter at daycare and was standing on the train platform and was hit by debris during the crash.
According to Snyder, the train — No. 1614 on the Pascack Valley Line — had left Spring Valley, New York, and was due to arrive in Hoboken at 8:28 a.m. The train derailed from Track 5.
The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigators will remain on the scene for the next seven to 10 days. The NTSB expects to extract the train’s black box from the locomotive in order to figure out what caused the crash.
Gov. Chris Christie, speaking to hosts Deminski and Doyle on New Jersey 101.5, said the train came into the terminal at a higher-than-normal rate of speed.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Gallagher is a resident of Morris Plains and attended Fairleigh Dickinson University from 1986 to 1990. He is married with teenage daughters. Neighbors of Gallagher say they were shocked and heartbroken to hear of the crash. One neighbor, Tom Jones, said it was obvious that the NJ Transit employee "loved his work."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.
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