One of NY train victims grew up in Spokane - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

One of NY train victims grew up in Spokane

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NTSB investigates train crash in NY NTSB investigates train crash in NY
Robert Dirks, 36 Robert Dirks, 36
Valhalla, N.Y. -

Investigators say they want to know how a New York woman's SUV ended up on the tracks just before a commuter train struck it, killing her and five rail riders.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday was to examine the tracks, interview the crew and find out whether Ellen Brody's Mercedes SUV had a data recorder of its own.

Friends described the 49-year-old mother of three as caring and safety conscious. She was driving home Tuesday evening from her jewelry-store job. The accident was the deadliest in the 32-year history of the Metro-North Railroad.

A motorist behind Brody's car told local media he saw her exit the car after a guardrail came down on top of it, return to her car and drive forward, onto the track.

KHQ has learned that one of the people killed on the train was a 36-year-old man who grew up in Spokane. Robert Dirks was working as a scientist at D.E. Shaw Research in Manhattan, but in 1995 he was valedictorian at Lewis and Clark High School. He later received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

The Harlem line was the train Dirks always took home.

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