FIRST ON 13: Town considers lawsuit, ticket being issued to driver in Glenville bridge crash

Glenville considers legal action after bridge strikes

First on 13, we are learning the town of Glenville could soon escalate its efforts to prevent more bridge strikes.

The driver in last week’s Maple Avenue Bridge crash in Glenville will be ticketed, according to the town supervisor, as the town considers the possibility of a lawsuit against the owners of two rail bridges in town.

Sylvester Basil Jr., 60, is accused of failing to obey the traffic sign concerning the bridge height. The truck was carrying compressed natural gas, and the crash sent flames shooting 200 feet into the air near the Maple Avenue bridge, as a train passed by overhead.

Power was knocked out and several homes were evacuated. Basil was taken to the Westchester Burn Center with burns to his hands and face.

Crews were still working nearby Thursday, but CSX told the town that the bridge is structurally sound.

The bridge involved in this crash is not the notorious Glenridge Road bridge that is constantly hit. However, it is nearby, and has also been hit before.

Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle told NewsChannel 13 the town is considering filing a lawsuit against both CSX and Canadian Pacific Railway, the companies that own the bridges on Maple Avenue and Glenridge Road, respectively.

“I feel like we’re at that point of frustration where this is the only option we have left,” Koetzle said. “Since we deployed the detection system it has helped Glenridge, but now it seems coincidental that we’ve had three strikes on Maple that we never had before, so the two are linked.”

Potential legal action is in the early stages, Supervisor Koetzle said, but would be a chance for the town to make a statement. Koetzle said the companies won’t raise the bridges, claiming it’s too expensive.

“I think we need to go to court in order to have this discussion and look at some of these protections they have and challenge them,” he said. “We probably would not be successful, but it’s important to do it, in order to make sure people understand what’s wrong here.”

Neighbors showed NewsChannel 13 photos of their melted siding up the road from the fiery crash. Several of them are advocating for the bridge to be raised or the road lowered, two steps Koetzle said the town is powerless to take.

“Someone’s life is going to be way more than any cost to raise a bridge. But we don’t have that authority,” Koetzle said.  

Basil is recovering from severe burns to his hands and face. A summons will be sent to his Texas home. Koetzle said it’s likely no other charges will be filed and there will be no violations on Basil’s driving record.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to CSX and Canadian Pacific Railway for comment this afternoon. This article will be updated with their response.