Saved by a shoe strap: Close call for Morris singer at Hoboken train crash

Scene of train crash in Hoboken. Photo via Twitter
Scene of train crash in Hoboken. Photo via Twitter
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Scene of train crash in Hoboken. Photo via Twitter
Scene of train crash in Hoboken. Photo via Twitter

By Kevin Coughlin

Christine DeLeon never has been so thankful for a loose shoe strap.

Singer Christine DeLeon posted this Facebook photo while awaiting a delayed train in Dover on Thursday morning; she had no idea what awaited her in Hoboken. Photo by Christine DeLeon
Singer Christine DeLeon posted this Facebook photo while awaiting a delayed train in Dover; she had no idea what awaited her in Hoboken.

If she hadn’t paused to adjust her Mary Janes on Thursday morning at the Hoboken train station, she would have proceeded to the waiting room doors–just as an NJ Transit train from Spring Valley, NY, was barreling toward them on track 5.

“I’m kind of shaken up,” said DeLeon, who was unharmed in the 8:45 a.m. crash that killed at least one person and injured more than 100 others.

DeLeon, a singer-songwriter who performs often at The Minstrel  in Morris Township, had just emerged from the ladies room at the station, and was making her way to the PATH terminal to Manhattan. She reached down to adjust her shoes. Then:

“I heard a big bang,” she said, “like an explosion.”

It was “a big, loud crashing noise…it sounded like a building was falling down, like a building toppled over and fell.”

She looked up, and through the waiting room doors “I saw the train moving towards me. It was moving and getting bigger.”

MAGIC SHOES: Christine DeLeon says a strap adjustment may have saved her life. Photo by Christine DeLeon
MAGIC SHOES: Christine DeLeon says a strap adjustment may have saved her life. Photo by Christine DeLeon

DeLeon was in the wrong place at the wrong time because her morning train from Dover had gotten her to Hoboken a few minutes later than usual.

Now, she feared the approaching train would plow through the doors into the waiting room.

Turning to run, she stumbled and fell. Would the train burst into flames behind her?

Scrambling to her feet, she raced to a ferry, got on board, and continued an unforgettable commute to her legal job in New York.

“I’m really grateful to be alive,” said DeLeon, 49. “I’m very saddened to hear that deaths have been reported.”

Scene of Hoboken train crash. Photo via Twitter
Scene of Hoboken train crash. Photo via Twitter

 

 

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