Hoboken mom mourned

Vigil held for lone resident killed in train accident

Local day care workers organized a vigil on Thursday night for Fabiola de Kroon, 34, the new mother who passed away on Sept. 29 when she was hit by debris during the Hoboken train crash.
A week ago, De Kroon began her morning by dropping her 18-month-old daughter off at Smart Start Academy, a day care center on Ninth Street near the light rail station. Then, she headed to the Hoboken train terminal to take a different train to her job in Brooklyn.
While she was walking along the platform, a commuter train arriving from the suburbs slammed into the terminal, sending debris raining down upon bystanders. More than 100 people were injured. De Kroon was the only fatality, although two others were seriously injured.
The federal government is investigating the accident, and released information just two days ago that the train nearly tripled in speed less than a minute before the impact (see sidebar).
After the crash, authorities were able to locate De Kroon’s husband, Daan, who was traveling on business in Massachusetts. He phoned Smart Start Academy around 11 a.m. to notify them that his wife had passed away and that he would pick up his daughter Julia later that day.

“If I could draw, I would show the world the glow on Julia’s face every time she saw her mom.” – Sapphire Lopez
At Thursday night’s vigil, Smart Start Academy Office Administrator Sapphire Lopez talked about the love Fabiola de Kroon and her daughter Julia had for each other.
“The love she had for Julia not only showed the moment she stepped into Smart Start, but it radiated,” Lopez said. “If I could draw, I would show the world the glow on Julia’s face every time she saw her mom.”
Daan de Kroon and Julia were with his wife’s family in Brazil last week and thus were not at the vigil. But Daan sent a statement that Lopez read, thanking his wife for opening his eyes to the small things in life.
“A big thank you for the amazing adventures,” he wrote. “You’ve always made things positive in your own way.”
The vigil was held at Columbus Park on Ninth Street. Some attendees brought babies or small children.
The academy has set up two Gofundme fundraisers to raise money for a scholarship for Julia and for orphanages in Brazil. Lopez said that Daan wanted to give to orphanages “because Julia is going to grow up without her mother and he can’t imagine what it’s like to lose both parents.”
To find either fundraiser, go to Gofundme.com and type in de Kroon’s name or Hoboken.
The de Kroon family has lived on the west side of Hoboken for around six months.


Feds: Train sped to 21 MPH, brake applied second before impact

After the deadly Sept. 29 train crash in Hoboken terminal, the big question was why the train did not stop as it entered the Erie Lackawanna Train Terminal around 8:45 a.m. In fact, a data recorder salvaged from the train last week indicated that not only did the train’s speed nearly triple before the impact, but that the emergency brake was applied less than a second before the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a release on their website on Thursday that the recorder indicated that the train was going 8 miles per hour upon approaching the terminal, but it began accelerating 38 seconds before the end of the line. “Train speed began to increase and reached a maximum of about 21 m.p.h.,” the release noted.
It further states: “The forward facing video recorder captured the sound of one blast of the train’s horn about one minute before the collision, while the train was in the yard leading to the terminal. The train’s bell began sounding shortly afterward and continued until the end of the recording. The event recorder indicates throttle increased from idle to the No. 4 position while the train was traveling about 8 m.p.h., approximately 38 seconds before the collision. According to the event recorder data the throttle position went from No. 4 to idle just prior to the collision, and then engineer-induced emergency braking occurred less than a second before the collision with the bumping post. The event recorder shows train speed was about 21 m.p.h. when it collided with the bumping post. Event recorder speeds during the final seconds are consistent with train speed estimates obtained from the NTSB’s preliminary analysis of images from the forward facing video camera.”
The train engineer, Thomas Gallagher, 48, has said that he was going the speed limit of 10 m.p.h. and that he doesn’t remember the impact.
He also said that his cell phone was locked away, as is policy. The phone was recovered by federal investigators on the same day as the data and video recorders, and was being looked at in Washington, D.C. last week.
After the crash, Gallagher was treated at Jersey City Medical Center and released. More than 100 other people were injured. One patient remained at Jersey City Medical Center last week and was upgraded to stable condition on Wednesday.
The NTSB said that their analysis of the reason for the crash could take up to a year.
NJ Transit removed the train from the platform on Thursday for further investigation.
PATH and light rail trains ran on their normal schedules last week. Some of the NJ Transit commuter trains inside the terminal were to resume their runs starting Monday, and the waiting room was slated to reopen on Monday morning as well.

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