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Motorist who drove onto Newton train tracks says he was following GPS

Posted by boston.com  December 19, 2013 12:48 PM

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waban auto.jpg

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Vehicle on the tracks at Waban Station

A motorist who said he was following directions from his GPS device drove onto the tracks at Waban Station in Newton Wednesday night, forcing train service to halt until the vehicle could be removed, MBTA officials said.

The driver of the van, who was not identified, was not injured in the 7:40 p.m. incident on the MBTA's Green Line.

The motorist was in the station's parking lot, and said that he used a GPS device to navigate his way out of the lot, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email. In an effort to find the exit, the motorist turned onto the track area while following the directions, and made it about 125 feet before coming to a halt in the snow.

MBTA employees and bystanders helped push the vehicle onto the platform and escorted it back to the parking lot, Pesaturo said. Train service was resumed at 8:04 p.m.

One person who witnessed the incident was Lois Levin, Newton's bicycle coordinator, who happened to be picking someone up from the station.

Levin said the motorist drove through the parking lot, then took a sharp right onto the tracks and kept going until his wheels got stuck. A train that was approaching the station stopped about two car lengths away from the van, she said.

“He drove through the parking lot as if it were a street,” Levin said. “He just kept going. It was really quite shocking when I saw it happen.”

Levin said that when she approached the man to ask if he was all right, he told her he was from Dallas and was not familiar with the area. He said he had dropped his daughter off at the station. His vehicle had Texas plates, Levin said.

Shandana Mufti can be reached at shandana.mufti@globe.com.

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