WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A blind, 75-year-old woman who was the longtime newsstand dealer at a suburban train station was killed Tuesday when she fell onto the tracks just before a train roared through, officials said.
The Amtrak engineer applied emergency brakes, but Teresa Fiorentino of Croton-on-Hudson was struck and her body was pushed beneath the platform of the Croton-Harmon station, said Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North commuter railroad, which also uses the station.
"There was a lot of screaming," Anders said. "This is a tragedy."
Several police officers and some commuters who were on the platform were treated for emotional trauma, said police Chief Stephen Conner of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Fiorentino, employed by a concession company hired by Metro-North, worked for three decades selling coffee, bagels and newspapers to commuters on the overpass between the northbound and southbound sides of the station. She worked with her husband there before his death, and was working with her daughter Tuesday, Anders said.
She said Fiorentino customarily took a cigarette break on the platform, and was usually helped up and down the stairs by a station cleaner, but he was off on Tuesday.
"She went by herself today, but we don't know if that had anything to do with (her death)," Anders said.
Videotapes showed Fiorentino falling from the platform. "Whether she slipped, tripped, lost her balance, we don't know," Anders said.
The Amtrak train that hit her about 8:30 a.m. was not scheduled to stop at the station; top track speed there is 40 mph.
The train had left Albany and was headed for New York City, about 30 miles south of Croton-on-Hudson; passengers on board were transferred to a Metro-North train to complete their trip.