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Driver Of Car Involved In Westchester Train Crash Has Criminal History

A photo of the disabled car hit by the Metro-North train at the Green Lane crossing in Bedford Hills. The photo was taken by a passenger on the train and is being published with the passenger's permission.
A photo of the disabled car hit by the Metro-North train at the Green Lane crossing in Bedford Hills. The photo was taken by a passenger on the train and is being published with the passenger's permission. Photo Credit: @haleyonepilots
Joyce Opoku, 43,
Joyce Opoku, 43, Photo Credit: New York State Attorney General's Office
Investigators are at the scene of a grade crossing in Bedford Hills. A train collided with a vehicle at the crossing on Wednesday.
Investigators are at the scene of a grade crossing in Bedford Hills. A train collided with a vehicle at the crossing on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Investigators are at the scene of a grade crossing in Bedford Hills. A train collided with a vehicle at the crossing on Wednesday.
Investigators are at the scene of a grade crossing in Bedford Hills. A train collided with a vehicle at the crossing on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Investigators are at the scene of a grade crossing in Bedford Hills. A train collided with a vehicle at the crossing on Wednesday.
Investigators are at the scene of a grade crossing in Bedford Hills. A train collided with a vehicle at the crossing on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. -- The driver of the car that was struck by a northbound Metro-North train at the Green Lane crossing in Bedford Hills on Wednesday has a criminal past.

Joyce Opoku, 43, a home health-care worker from New Windsor, N.Y., was stopped at the crossing when the crossing signal and gates were activated in advance of the oncoming northbound train. Opoku had an 87-year-old female passenger in the car.

Opoku pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to properly care for an 84-year-old Korean War veteran and resident of the New York State Veterans’ Home at Montrose in 2014. For more on that case, click here.

Wednesday's collision caused major delays through the evening rush. No injuries were reported. Opuko was issued a summons for illegally blocking a railroad crossing.

The 2:22 p.m. train from Grand Central Terminal due at Southeast Station at 3:49 p.m. collided with the car at the Green Lane crossing in Bedford Hills at about 3:25 p.m., according to the MTA.

Power was shut down for a time and delays of up to 70 minutes were reported on the Harlem Line while police and Metro-North officials investigated the incident.

Opoku told investigators that she tried unsuccessfully to put her car in reverse as the crossing gates came down on the auto, according to the MTA.

MTA Police said Opoku was able to get herself and the elderly woman out of the car to safety, just seconds before the speeding train struck the auto. Neither Opoku nor her passenger were injured, police said.

Police said the crossing gate and crossing signals were operating properly. Opoku was issued a summons for illegally blocking a railroad crossing.

Tthere were 77 passengers onboard the train involved in the incident, Metro-North said. They were transferred safely to a second northbound train and continued their journey more than an hour behind schedule.

As of 8 p.m., trains on the Harlem Line were still experiencing scattered, residual delays of about 15 minutes.

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