Woman Struck, Killed By NJ Transit Train in Hazlet Identified

The incident occurred along the wooded section of track between Beers Street and Holmdel Road.

Heather Gogan, 37, of Keansburg was trespassing on the train tracks in Hazlet when she was struck and killed by a NJ Transit train Wednesday night as it approached the Hazlet Train Station, according to NJ Transit Spokesman John Durso, Jr.

The 8:41 North Jersey Coast Line train out of New York was coming to a stop at Hazlet when it hit the woman around 9:50 p.m.

The incident occurred in a desolate area, behind the Hazlet Deli and Greek Store's parking lot. 

The engineer of Train No. 3285, traveling west on Track 1, told investigators he saw Gogan walk into the gauge of Track 1, face the train and then put her hands up to cover her eyes, according to Durso.

The engineer sounded the horn and placed the train brakes into "emergency" but could not stop before striking Gogan.

"The engineer stated that when the trespasser faced the train she made no attempt to clear the track," Durso said. 

Last night, the train sat motionless on the tracks blocking Holmdel Road past midnight, where it had been abruptly stopped. Dozens of personnel wearing badges and ID cards around the neck milled around the site in the warm night. Down the tracks, officials from NJ Transit worked under bright lights to investigate the incident, remove the woman's body, and verify the train's condition. Hazlet Police closed off the parking lot and streets and patrolled the platform. 

About 200 passengers were on board the train during the accident, according to Durso.

They were offloaded and moved to the northbound platform to await another train that finally arrived around 11:15 p.m. 

As three men waited on the platform, they traded stories of what they experienced from inside the train.

Dave Simon of Deal told how he had been sitting in the third car from the front of the train when the incident occurred. "I heard a thump. Like something grazed against the side of the train," he said. 

Lenny Lapadula of Wall said he recalled the urgent wail of the train's horn -- and the sudden stop. "I heard the horn, just blaring," he said. 

John Mazza of West Long Branch said the conductor then announced some sort of code over the loud speaker.

The accident remains under investigation by New Jersey Transit Police. 

Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:15 a.m. Thursday with the name of the person killed and a description of the event from the engineer, as reported by NJ Transit. 

Jeff Barr August 23, 2012 at 02:42 PM
She WAS a trespasser. If she wasn't trespassing, she wouldn't be dead, and the poor engineer and train crew wouldn't be emotionally scarred. What a selfish act!
Maria Gingerelli August 23, 2012 at 03:11 PM
So sad. I pray for the family. To lose someone in your family is devastating, no matter what the reason!
paulie August 23, 2012 at 03:14 PM
BP - I certainly hope this is a poor attempt at sarcasm because if you are at all serious you should RUN to get mental help.
Shane August 23, 2012 at 03:35 PM
So reporting facts is now offensive, to all that where involved I feel sorry for.
katharyn reid August 23, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I live right behind these tracks and was first car in line waiting for this train to pass. The conductor did sound the horn loudly and longly before stopping quickly. He seemed very concerned and distraught about the women and in no way was responsible for this accident. They were concerned about the 200 passangers on board. This was a sad inncodent happening too close to home and I'm sorry for all those who were involved. There is no reason to point blame, but simply to keep all who whitnessed this evening in your heart and prayers
Nick J. August 23, 2012 at 03:46 PM
How can the NJ Transit spokesperson do a CYA, when it certainly appears that the transit authority is not at fault (assuming the conductor passes the required tests after an accident). You clearly have a personal vendetta against NJ Transit and should let this poor woman rest in peace and her family grieve.
Tara Lynn August 23, 2012 at 03:58 PM
May Angels lead you In, Heather. My heart breaks for Tyler, Danny, & the rest of the Gogan family, stay strong boys, love you<3
Jeff Rossi August 23, 2012 at 04:10 PM
No vendetta and I don't think anyone was at fault. Sad situation and I truly feel for the family. - It was just feedback to Christina. Next time I'll send her an email.
BranKauf August 23, 2012 at 04:48 PM
My heart goes out to my very dear friends!!! May the pain of this tragic loss ease in your hearts and minds!!! You are all in my hearts and soul
EILEEN August 23, 2012 at 05:32 PM
all in all it is a terrible tragedy...deepest sympathy to the Gogan/Bellach families..
Joey Bagdano August 23, 2012 at 05:35 PM
You all should be quite aware that this is suicide by Train. It is not NJT or Engineers fault. Woman was troubled and in these troubled times it should not be surprising.
MorganP August 23, 2012 at 06:19 PM
As a person who was on the train last night, I would like to commend the NJT conductors and engineers for handling a very difficult situation in a professional and concerned manner. My sincere sympathy to the extended Gogan family and the engineer, who truly is not to blame in any way.
Kasey Amber August 23, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Rest in peace Heather, Danny & Tyler & the rest of the family always remember she will always be with you, & she will never stop loving you<3 xoxoxoxox
Undercat99 August 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Was she related to one of the Gogan Police Officers in Keansburg?
IrishI August 24, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Yes, she was related to David, her brother.
Tara Lynn August 24, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Tara Lynn August 24, 2012 at 01:24 AM
and sister-in-law to another
Jennifer August 24, 2012 at 01:48 AM
You are so right. The only thing to say is that it is so sad, and that somewhere out there, a family is suffering. They are probably reading these stories, because that is what you do, to try to understand, but they don't need to hear the moralizing and speculation.
Undercat99 August 24, 2012 at 02:57 AM
So she is Dave and Drew's Sister or she is married to one of them? I knew them growing up in WK
stace crey August 24, 2012 at 03:14 AM
She is their sister in law
stace crey August 24, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Though some say that suicide is a selfish act, they have not been there...that low. I have and have batteled it for many years 32 to be exact. This is a very very difficult situation for her whole family. Being at that point in your life is horrifying, please, don't demean her.
BP August 24, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Fences are stupid and cause sight obstructions at crossings. What if this had been a gas tanker that had jumped the median? Can the fence call the dispatch to stop the train? Lighting and monitored video with audio speakers would be better. "Hey you get off the tracks"
esther August 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM
i hope and pray she did not leave children behind. my heart goes out to her family n friends. my heart goes deeper for the gentleman that was driving that train.who ever he was its not your fault in anyway she cried out for help and you where an easy way out for her. no thought just malice. god bless you and will pray you know you did the best you can
DRL August 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Sympathy to the Family..may she rest in peace
bonnielu August 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM
My deepest sympathy goes to Mary, Erin, and her family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Deanne August 25, 2012 at 02:00 AM
God bless her tortured soul...may she be in a better place with no pain.
MB August 25, 2012 at 06:25 AM
I would like to thank you for your post asking people to stop posting the hurtful things they are putting up here. My family has suffered a tremendous loss and the cruel people who have expressed their opinions and are so quick to judge I can only say you have made a heartbreaking tragedy unbearable. And to the people who published the explicit details of that night you are a disgrace. And to all of the kind people who expressed their heartfelt sympathy and condolences we are grateful. I am the victims Mother.
N.C. August 28, 2012 at 09:38 PM
If anyone knows anything about what happened or saw Heather just prior to the incident please come forward and say something.
BP August 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM
The train video and station video should be a public document since we paid for it. A few railroads have been busted lately for doctoring video ---losing witnesses---BUYING witnesses---etc.
BP July 24, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Things a REAL railroad Operation Lifesaver (OL) group would ask!!! 1. Why are all OL directors handpuppets of the railroad or government only giving lip service safety messages? 2. Why nothing is ever mentioned by OL that would cost the railroads a penny on the obviously missing safety equipment and track maintenance work? 3. Where are the crossing safety signals for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering at 1,000s of crossings? 4. Where are the track video monitors for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering to get the train stopped IN TIME? 5. Why aren't railroads paying at least half for crossing signals because it's their trains going too fast with no brakes or steering while paying the so-called RR directors millions a year. 6. Why the crossing humps trapping big trucks aren't required to be removed? 7. Why the crossing surfaces aren't wider where if a vehicle fish tails on slick road and is trapped at the edge of the crossing surface trap? 8. Why the train cabs aren't required to be lit up like a Christmas tree with emergency vehicle light bars? LOOK AND SEE!! 9. Why the front of trains aren't required to have air bags or something to soften impacts? 10. Why trains don't have better braking systems? OLIs message now shows train brakes obviously suck. 11. Why there are no bidding invitations on the obviously overcharged crossing projects the tax-payers pay the railroads for. $10,000 just to get the equipment to the sight. TRUCKED IN. 12. Why trains are allowed to run in the fog? 13. Why the crossings aren't lit up so drivers can see the black rail cars across the tracks at night? 14. Why railroads remove and steal signals we paid for on closed re-worked crossings? 15. Why $$$millions$$$ of the rail safety budget we pay in is wasted on needless reworks at crossings preventing signals where needed? 16. Why the railroad isn't required to de-ice crossings before they roll the trains? 17. Why the railroad isn't required to raise their overpasses so big trucks can get under them? The railroad wants to double stack and our road overpasses are too low---no problem WE PAY MILLIONS. 18. Why drug/alcohol tests aren't done on rail crews at crossing/pedestrian collisions? 19. Why railroads are allowed to get off with the train black box , signal black box (if crossing signals are present), and cab video at crossing/pedestrian collisions? 20. Why the fact is hidden that trains kill a few thousand people in 100 million train miles when regular drivers have like ONE death? 21.Why Amtrak passengers aren't required to look at the despicable shape of the crossings before they board the trains? 22.Why train horns aren't blown at private crossings till the last second freezing drivers? 23.Why the railroads track lights can't be at a crossing? 24 .Why railroads need track lights and civilians don't? WAITING FOR OLI/OLI.CA response.


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