A computer consultant was following the direction of his GPS in his rental car when he turned right and the car got stuck on the train tracks at the crossing. The man jumped out and tried to warn the engineer by waving, the Associated Press reports.
He got out of the way just before the train slammed into the car at 60 mph, according to Metro-North Railroad. The car was pushed more than 100 feet during the fiery crash.
Some 500 train passengers were stranded for more than two hours during the evening rush hour. No injuries were reported but the accident heavily damaged 250 feet of rail.
The railroad identified the 32-year-old driver as Bo Bai, who had a California driver's license with a Sunnyvale address but told police he was living in Fishkill, N.Y.
The railroad maintains that Bai and his rental company would be liable for the damage, estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.