Federal investigators of the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the death of man who was struck and killed by a train last month at the Lynbrook Long Island Railroad station. In the aftermath of the incident, the victim’s friend has sued the LIRR for $10 million.
Karl Aarseth, Jr., 65, was struck by an eastbound train that was traveling from Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan to Long Beach on April 5. He was returning to Lynbrook after attending the New York International Auto Show in Manhattan. After the incident, some Long Beach trains were rerouted to Freeport, with added stops at Rockville Centre and Baldwin, until service was restored hours later.
According to NTSB spokesman Peter Knudsen, the train stopped at the Lynbrook station, and after some passengers got off and others got on, the conductor observed that Aarseth bumped into the train with his shoulder and was pulled along the platform.
“The train stopped, and the passenger was fatally injured,” Knudsen said. “At no point did the passenger fall under the platform.” Knudsen said the NTSB is investigating how far Aarseth was dragged and what caused it to happen. There is no timetable for the conclusion of the investigation, he added.
Knudsen said that despite some initial confusion as to the cause, it was determined that Aarseth did not fall into the gap between the train and the platform. He added that the NTSB launched its investigation on April 6, and is not investigating it as a “gap incident.”
A lawsuit on behalf of Charles Abar, who is referred to as the executor of the estate for Aarseth, was filed in state Supreme Court by Garden City-based firm Sullivan, Papapin, Block, McGrath & Cannavo P.C. The group is the same firm that defended Natalie Smead, a teen from Minnesota who was killed by an LIRR train in 2006 after she fell into a gap at Woodside station in Queens.
The suit alleges that Aarseth died “due to the negligence, carelessness and recklessness” of the LIRR, which includes how it designed, built and maintained the platform. It also placed blame on the actions of the train crew. The lawsuit states that Aarseth suffered “severe multiple blunt impact injuries” to his head, neck, torso and extremities, which eventually led to his death.
Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the LIRR, said that the company would not comment on pending litigation.
Before the suit, Donovan deferred to NTSB for comment about the ongoing investigation, and added that the LIRR is aiding in it. He also expressed his condolences for the victim on behalf of the LIRR.
“Safety is the LIRR’s top priority, and our hearts go out to all those who knew him,” Donovan said. “In order to understand what happened and how similar events might be prevented, we are fully participating in the federal investigation to this tragic accident.”