87-Year-Old Man Killed in Fiery Crash While Driving on NJ Transit Tracks

Accepting Clients Throughout New Jersey Including Hackensack, Bergen County, Newark & Essex County


RR crossing trainAn elderly Pennsylvania husband, perhaps disoriented in the early morning darkness, drove his car onto the NJ Transit tracks near Emerson and traveled about a mile along the tracks before being rear-ended by a train and killed in a fiery crash.

The 87 year old man, a former NJ resident identified as Vaclav Budak, may have been visiting friends according to his son, when he lost his way and ended up on the Pascack Valley line track bed in an area not easily accessible and not near a crossing. “There are a lot of open-ended questions,” Emerson Police Chief Donald Rossi said. “It’s not a cut and dry cookie-cutter … To find a vehicle at that location on the railroad tracks is very unusual,” he said.

Who is eligible to file a New Jersey train accident lawsuit?

When the Police Chief declares an accident scene to be “unusual” and questionable like this one, a veteran NJ transit accident lawyer from Eisbrouch Marsh can investigate the circumstances and the accident investigation report on behalf of the client or client’s family to determine if there is cause to file a lawsuit.

Could there have been insufficient directional signage for a driver at the crossing? Was it obvious in the dark—the accident happened about 5:30 AM–that a turn onto the track bed could likely be fatal? Were there danger signs posted that pointed out the deadly danger a driver was in if he or she proceeded onto the track bed?

The National Transportation Safety Board reports that 60% of all railroad crossing deaths occur at unprotected crossings. It also reports that 80% of all railroad crossings are not protected by safety gates and lights. What did the driver see or not see at 5:30 in the morning that led him to his death minutes later?

Speak with a veteran NJ transit accident lawyer from Eisbrouch Marsh

A NJ railroad accident lawyer can help you obtain accident reports, case records, information regarding any relevant past accidents, witness statements, and photographs related to your case.

Train accidents are generally catastrophic because of the speed and size of a train. A crash between a train and a motor vehicle will almost certainly be fatal or cause life-threatening physical injuries and trauma. The experienced team of personal injury lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh will investigate whether the victim has a legitimate opportunity to file a New Jersey train accident lawsuit that can help compensate for what could be enormous financial damage to the victim, including loss of wages, pain, suffering and loss of quality of life.

Family members also can suffer grave financial loss, mental anguish and loss of companionship while caring for an injured family member.

To speak with a NJ transit accident attorney who is well-versed in rail crossing and other accidents, contact Eisbrouch Marsh for a free consultation. Our attorneys boast a long track record of successful verdicts and settlements involving personal injury lawsuits throughout New Jersey. To learn more about your legal options, call 201-342-5545.


  1. DigitalTrends.com, Technology to Prevent Train Accidents Exists But Congress May Delay its Implementation, http://www.digitaltrends.com/business/ptc-tech-congress-delay-2020/
  2. National Transportation Safety Board, Railroad Accident Reports, http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/railroad.aspx