A badly confused 80-year-old woman heading from the Bronx to Manhattan drove onto the Spuyten Duyvil railroad bridge last night, where an Amtrak train rammed her car and plowed it 250 feet along the tracks, police said.
But the grandmotherly driver, described only as gray-haired, small and frail, escaped with only bumps and bruises.
"She was very, very lucky to be alive," said the bridge tender, who pulled the driver from her car.
The woman was taken to Harlem Hospital, where she was in stable condition last night.
The bridge tender, who did not give his name, said about 9:45 p.m. he heard a train horn blowing for more than 20 seconds and he went to investigate.
When he reached the tracks, he found that a passenger train from Toronto with 140 people aboard had hit the car and pushed it along the tracks for nearly the length of a football field. He said he found the driver huddled in a ball on the driver's side floor. "I tried to ask her questions, but she didn't respond," said the bridge tender. "I think she was in shock."
Investigators believe the woman somehow got onto to the tracks by using an access road on the Bronx side of the bridge. They estimated she drove 200 feet on the tracks before the train hit her