TAXI VERSES TRAIN - INVESTIGATION CONCLUSION
Date of Arrest: May 18, 2017
Date of Incident: February 16, 2017
An investigation conducted by members of the Saugerties Police Department into the circumstances resulting in the death of 50 year- old Bertha Whispell of Saugerties, on February 16, 2017 has resulted in the filing of charges against 43-year-old Phillip A. Prindle of Kingston. Prindle has been charged with the Felony of Failure to Stop at a Railroad Crossing Resulting in a Fatal Accident and the Violation of Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign.
On February 16, 2017 at 11:45am Prindle was operating a 2008 Chevrolet Van owned by Kingston Kabs, Inc., picking up a fare at the end of Doyle’s Lane in the Town of Saugerties. At 11:47 am Prindle was traveling west on Doyle’s Lane, when Prindle proceeded to drive past a posted stop sign and a CSX Warning Sign, without first stopping and looking both ways onto the approaching railroad tracks. Prindle proceeded directly across the tracks into the path of an oncoming CSX Engine. The Engine struck the taxi resulting in injury to both Prindle and his front seat passenger, 52-year-old Rodney Smith. Whispell who was seated in the rear of the taxi, had been ejected during the crash, sustaining fatal injuries.
Video obtained from the CSX Engine and the DATA recorder from the Taxi clearly established that Prindle did not stop and look before driving onto the tracks. At the time of the incident, Prindle did submit to a chemical test of his blood for drugs and alcohol, which established that drugs nor alcohol were a contributing factor resulting in the crash.
The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, and the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit, assisted police detectives in their investigation.
Prindle was processed at police headquarters and released pending a court appearance on May 31, 2017.