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Woman Struck, Killed By NJ Transit Train in Hazlet Identified

The incident occurred along the wooded section of track between Beers Street and Holmdel Road.

Heather Gogan, 37, of Keansburg was trespassing on the train tracks in Hazlet when she was struck and killed by a NJ Transit train Wednesday night as it approached the Hazlet Train Station, according to NJ Transit Spokesman John Durso, Jr.

The 8:41 North Jersey Coast Line train out of New York was coming to a stop at Hazlet when it hit the woman around 9:50 p.m.

The incident occurred in a desolate area, behind the Hazlet Deli and Greek Store's parking lot. 

The engineer of Train No. 3285, traveling west on Track 1, told investigators he saw Gogan walk into the gauge of Track 1, face the train and then put her hands up to cover her eyes, according to Durso.

The engineer sounded the horn and placed the train brakes into "emergency" but could not stop before striking Gogan.

"The engineer stated that when the trespasser faced the train she made no attempt to clear the track," Durso said. 

Last night, the train sat motionless on the tracks blocking Holmdel Road past midnight, where it had been abruptly stopped. Dozens of personnel wearing badges and ID cards around the neck milled around the site in the warm night. Down the tracks, officials from NJ Transit worked under bright lights to investigate the incident, remove the woman's body, and verify the train's condition. Hazlet Police closed off the parking lot and streets and patrolled the platform. 

About 200 passengers were on board the train during the accident, according to Durso.

They were offloaded and moved to the northbound platform to await another train that finally arrived around 11:15 p.m. 

As three men waited on the platform, they traded stories of what they experienced from inside the train.

Dave Simon of Deal told how he had been sitting in the third car from the front of the train when the incident occurred. "I heard a thump. Like something grazed against the side of the train," he said. 

Lenny Lapadula of Wall said he recalled the urgent wail of the train's horn -- and the sudden stop. "I heard the horn, just blaring," he said. 

John Mazza of West Long Branch said the conductor then announced some sort of code over the loud speaker.

The accident remains under investigation by New Jersey Transit Police. 

Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:15 a.m. Thursday with the name of the person killed and a description of the event from the engineer, as reported by NJ Transit. 

MB August 25, 2012 at 06:25 AM
I would like to thank you for your post asking people to stop posting the hurtful things they are putting up here. My family has suffered a tremendous loss and the cruel people who have expressed their opinions and are so quick to judge I can only say you have made a heartbreaking tragedy unbearable. And to the people who published the explicit details of that night you are a disgrace. And to all of the kind people who expressed their heartfelt sympathy and condolences we are grateful. I am the victims Mother.
N.C. August 28, 2012 at 09:38 PM
If anyone knows anything about what happened or saw Heather just prior to the incident please come forward and say something.
BP August 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM
The train video and station video should be a public document since we paid for it. A few railroads have been busted lately for doctoring video ---losing witnesses---BUYING witnesses---etc.
BP July 24, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Things a REAL railroad Operation Lifesaver (OL) group would ask!!! 1. Why are all OL directors handpuppets of the railroad or government only giving lip service safety messages? 2. Why nothing is ever mentioned by OL that would cost the railroads a penny on the obviously missing safety equipment and track maintenance work? 3. Where are the crossing safety signals for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering at 1,000s of crossings? 4. Where are the track video monitors for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering to get the train stopped IN TIME? 5. Why aren't railroads paying at least half for crossing signals because it's their trains going too fast with no brakes or steering while paying the so-called RR directors millions a year. 6. Why the crossing humps trapping big trucks aren't required to be removed? 7. Why the crossing surfaces aren't wider where if a vehicle fish tails on slick road and is trapped at the edge of the crossing surface trap? 8. Why the train cabs aren't required to be lit up like a Christmas tree with emergency vehicle light bars? LOOK AND SEE!! 9. Why the front of trains aren't required to have air bags or something to soften impacts? 10. Why trains don't have better braking systems? OLIs message now shows train brakes obviously suck. 11. Why there are no bidding invitations on the obviously overcharged crossing projects the tax-payers pay the railroads for. $10,000 just to get the equipment to the sight. TRUCKED IN. 12. Why trains are allowed to run in the fog? 13. Why the crossings aren't lit up so drivers can see the black rail cars across the tracks at night? 14. Why railroads remove and steal signals we paid for on closed re-worked crossings? 15. Why $$$millions$$$ of the rail safety budget we pay in is wasted on needless reworks at crossings preventing signals where needed? 16. Why the railroad isn't required to de-ice crossings before they roll the trains? 17. Why the railroad isn't required to raise their overpasses so big trucks can get under them? The railroad wants to double stack and our road overpasses are too low---no problem WE PAY MILLIONS. 18. Why drug/alcohol tests aren't done on rail crews at crossing/pedestrian collisions? 19. Why railroads are allowed to get off with the train black box , signal black box (if crossing signals are present), and cab video at crossing/pedestrian collisions? 20. Why the fact is hidden that trains kill a few thousand people in 100 million train miles when regular drivers have like ONE death? 21.Why Amtrak passengers aren't required to look at the despicable shape of the crossings before they board the trains? 22.Why train horns aren't blown at private crossings till the last second freezing drivers? 23.Why the railroads track lights can't be at a crossing? 24 .Why railroads need track lights and civilians don't? WAITING FOR OLI/OLI.CA response.


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