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Hudson Valley Taxi Driver Charged For Fatal Crash Where Train Hits Cab

Saugerties Police
Saugerties Police

The driver of a taxi whose cab was hit by a train, resulting in the death of a local woman, was charged.


In Feb., Saugerties Police responded to a report of a train verses motor vehicle crash on Doyles Lane, a dead-end street just east of Kings Highway in Mount Marion.

A south bound CSX train struck a 2008 Chevrolet Van from Kingston Kab, driven by 43-year-old Phillip Prindle of Kingston, as the taxi was crossing the railroad tracks on Doyles Lane, police say.

As a result of the crash, 50-year-old Bertha Whispell of Saugerties, a rear seat passage in the taxi, was ejected from the cab. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prindle and a second passenger of the taxi, 52-year-old Rodney Smith, were treated at the scene by paramedics from Diaz Ambulance and transported to the Health Alliance Hospital Kingston Broadway Campus.

An investigation by the Saugerties Police Department determined that prior to the fatal crash, Prindle allegedly drove past a posted stop sign and a CSX Warning Sign, onto tracks and into the path of the oncoming train. Prindle is also accused of not stopping to look both ways when approaching the railroad tracks.

Video obtained from the CSX Engine and the DATA recorder from the taxi clearly established that Prindle did not stop and look before driving onto the tracks, police say.

A chemical test after the crash found that Prindle wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol prior to the crash.

Prindle was charged with failure to stop at a railroad crossing resulting in a fatal accident, a felony, and the violation of failure to stop at a stop sign.  Prindle was processed at police headquarters and released pending a court appearance on May.

The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, and the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit, assisted police detectives in their investigation.

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