The identities of the driver and two of the five passengers killed when an SUV and Metro-North train collided in Valhalla on Tuesday night are now known.
The driver: Ellen Brody
Ellen Brody, an Edgemont mother of three, was the SUV driver at the center of the deadly crash, officials said Wednesday.
The 49-year-old was returning home from Chappaqua, where she works at a jewelry design shop, when her vehicle was struck at the Commerce Street crossing.
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said he’s known the Brody family, including Ellen and her South African-born husband, Alan, for years.
“It’s not just a tragedy for the town,” Feiner said. “It’s a personal tragedy for me.” The supervisor called Brody “an exceptional” person and recalled her as “Super, super nice.”
Brody, who worked at Chappaqua’s ICD Contemporary Jewelry, was a joy to be around and was in great spirits when she left the store Tuesday, said Virginia Shasha, a sales associate who had known her for a decade.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful person,” Shasha said. “She looked for the best in everyone and brought out the best in everyone.”
Varda Singer, the owner of the store, said Brody was a dedicated employee.
“She cared about other people,” Singer said. “She was a great mom, always full of life and energy.”
Singer described Brody as a “very careful driver” and said she was waiting to hear more about how the accident occurred.
Grace Bennett, publisher of Inside Chappaqua magazine, remembered Brody as someone who always had “a warm smile in every interaction.”
“Ellen was always professional, courteous, and just had this magnificently upbeat persona,” Bennett said. “Her colleagues are devastated right now by the loss. They had a nice relationship with her daughters who called the store manager last night to let them know.”
Students at Edgemont High School were aware of the tragedy and the school provided them with support, said Bob Bernstein, president of the Edgemont Community Council, a community group.
“They are a very prominent Edgemont family,” he said. “What a terrible tragedy.”
The family was active in Chabad of the Rivertowns, a Jewish organization in Dobbs Ferry where Brody’s funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday. Rabbi Benjy Silverman consoled the bereaved family Wednesday.
Police blockades were set up around the family’s split-level home, which was surrounded by cars. A security guard who said he was hired by the family stood in front.