By Kevin Coughlin
Christine DeLeon never has been so thankful for a loose shoe strap.
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.”
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.”