- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Depending on the witness, the horrific Metro train crash that killed six during Monday’s afternoon rush hour sounded like an exploding bomb, rolling thunder or massive trucks smashing together.

But for all who heard the crash — and saw the resulting twisted metal and broken bodies — it was one of the most chilling experiences of their lives.

“I felt nervous because a lot of people were screaming,” said Alvaro Daniel Lopez, 25, who went to a bridge overlooking the Takoma Park Metro station when he heard noise from the crash.

“I had never heard things like that,” Mr. Lopez said.

Latasha Gray described a scene of walking wounded and lifeless bodies reminiscent of a horror movie.

“I was just shocked. I saw [a dead body] covered with a sheet and I saw the other people with neckbraces,” said Miss Gray, 27. “I just pray to God that everyone is OK. I just thought it was something going on at the [nearby] warehouse. It sounded like an explosion.”

D’Ana Williams, who lives next to the Takoma Metro station near the crash site and can see the tracks from her windows, said the crash sounded like “two dump trucks colliding into each other, like they dumped a load.”

“You could just hear the train going on top of the other train,” Ms. Williams, 27, said.

Gale Griffin, who lives half-block from the crash site, said she heard a loud noise shortly after 5 p.m. that sounded “like a bomb went off.”

Alice Miller was waiting to pick up her daughter and grandson at the Takoma station when the crash occurred. Minutes later, after walking back to her home overlooking the wreckage she received a cell phone call from her daughter, who said they were in the back car of the train that was hit, but weren’t seriously hurt.

“They’re doing pretty good,” said Ms. Miller. She added that her daughters said she could see her from the train window, but she couldn’t see them.

Lisa Jones, 44, who also was waiting for her daughter at the station, was frustrated over what she described as a lack of communication with authorities tending to the crash.

“Nobody is telling me nothing,” Ms. Jones said while nervously waiting for word from her daughter, Monica, 18, a passenger in the rear train.

Ms. Jones said her son spoke to her daughter on her cell phone soon after the crash and learned that she was OK but required oxygen from rescue workers.

“Right now, I don’t know what to think,” she said.

None of the Metro trains leaving Union Station are running, according to a Union Station security guard.

The line of people waiting for a taxi extends from the main entrance of Union Station downtown Washington to the end of the massive building. An estimated 150 people were waiting for a cab Monday evening.

Becky Cole, who was one of the people waiting for a cab, said she was on her way home from work and boarded a Metro train at L’Enfant Plaza Station. The train stopped soon after leaving the station and passengers were kept on board for 45 minutes. When the train finally arrived at Union Station, authorities told them there was an emergency and that they would exit.

She said the passengers’ reaction ranged from annoyed to seriously discomforted.

Another rider, Donna Robie, said Metro officials ordered her off her train at Union Station but promised a Metro shuttle that would take them to a bus stop. But only one shuttle showed up in 45 minutes.

Metro officials advised the public to avoid the Red Line on Monday evening. Trains were operating between Glenmont and Brookland and between Shady Grove and Brookland stations and from Glenmont to Takoma Metrorail stations for the remainder of the day.

Authorities said the track at the crash site might not be reopened until after the Tuesday morning rush hour.

District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty on Monday night offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

“It’s a dark day for the District of Columbia,” Mr. Fenty said. “It you were somebody on that train, that was just an unbelievable nightmare.”

Ben Conery, Sarah Abruzzese, Stephanie Green, Melissa Giaimo and Cassie Fleming contributed to this report.

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