A high-speed Amtrak Acela train plowed into a car at a crossing Wednesday, killing a woman and her 8-year-old grandson and causing major delays along the Boston-to-Washington corridor.
The accident happened just after 7:40 a.m. on the southbound tracks 2 1/2 miles west of New London, Amtrak spokeswoman Tracy Connell said. The train hit the car and dragged it several hundred yards, and the engine came to rest on top of the demolished vehicle.
Carrie Cook, a media consultant who was on the train, said passengers heard a thump and felt a small bump. Soon after, she said, an employee announced over the loudspeaker -- wrongly, as it turned out -- that two of the three people in the car had survived.
“So if you believe in God, this is the time to pray,” he told passengers.
Patricia Metzermacher, 61, and Zachary Joseph Metzermacher were killed, police said. A granddaughter, Courtney Metzermacher, 4, was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday evening.
None of the 116 passengers and four crew members on the train were hurt, police said.
Waterford First Selectman Paul Eccard said witnesses told police that the gates at the crossing were working when the accident happened. He said police had not determined how the car got onto the tracks.
Michael Metzermacher, Patricia’s son and the children’s uncle, said his mother crossed the tracks to take Zachary to the bus stop every day and would not have tried to beat the train.
“My mother hates those tracks,” he told WTNH-TV. “My mother stops way ahead of those.”
Train service was halted for about six hours. The passengers were taken to other trains in New London.
The Acela express train can travel up to 150 mph, Connell said, but typically travels about 60 mph through that area.