6 killed, 12 hurt when train smashes into cars near New York City

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VALHALLA, NY — At least six people died and 12 were injured Tuesday night when a Metro North commuter train hit a vehicle in Valhalla, New York, a Metro North official tells CNN.

Five of the dead were train passengers, and the sixth fatality was a female driver of a Jeep, the official said.

Metro North officials said the collision happened about 7 p.m. when the crossing gates came down on top of a Jeep Cherokee that was stopped on the tracks.

The driver got out to look at the rear of the car, then she got back in and drove forward and was struck, the official said. She was outside the vehicle when struck, the official said.

The SUV was struck by the 5:44 p.m. northbound train from Grand Central Station at the two-track Commerce Street crossing, the official said.

The train shoved the vehicle about 10 train car lengths north.

About 400 commuters were taken to a rock-climbing gym for shelter, the train company official said. Buses are en route there to get to them to Pleasantville.

Twelve people were taken to Westchester Medical Center

Valhalla is about 25 miles north of Manhattan.

By Ralph Ellis