Off-Track: 5 Years Later

SPUTYEN DUYVIL – Metro-North Train 88-08’s derailment on Dec. 1, 2013, killed four passengers and injured dozens of others. It was traveling 50 miles over the speed limit as it approached a sharp curve.

Now five years later, passengers who survived the derailment are sharing their stories, while the MTA continues to deal with mounting civil lawsuits.

The crash left a shocking scene of destruction and carnage. Metro-North commuter passenger cars flipped over, mangled and derailed off the tracks right before the Sputyen Duyvil Metro North Station. Five years later, the area has been repaired.

Although 60 months and more than 1,825 days have gone by since that deadly derailment, the pain and fear for many aboard that train is still haunting.

Journal News Investigative Reporter Tom Zambito spoke to Steve Ciccone, who was in the third car during the crash. He is now filing legal action against the MTA.

“The Steven Ciccone that was…existed before…has died and now he’s moving on with his life and finding a new path…as a result of this,” Zambito said. “For passengers who were aboard this train…and a lot of them are living through…still living with the after-effects from that accident.”

Ciccone’s 12-page civil complaint filed in 2014, laid out the suffering Ciccone said he’s endured since the accident.

“Sustained severe and serious personal injuries, including multiple trauma to his head and body and aggravation of a prior condition of cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis,” Ciccone said.

The complaint goes on to say his injuries were: “caused by negligence, carelessness and/or recklessness of metro-north, their agents, and employees…in the ownership, operation, management, control, design, construction, maintenance and repair of the Hudson line track system.”

The incident has cost the Metro-North than $60,000,000 in settlements.

Steve Ciccone has been in a four-year legal battle with Metro-North. Investigative notes, obtained by the Journal News, shows how the agency paid investigators to keep surveillance on Ciccone.

“The claimant did not appear to always need his cane for assistance as he used the cane on and off,” investigative notes said.

The surveillance by the agency is signifying Metro-North’s rigorous defense against pending litigation over the derailment.