Florida hurricane evacuee left stranded on NJ Transit train
A Florida college student from New Jersey says that she was left stranded on a New Jersey Transit train when she fell asleep after a long trip from evacuating from Hurricane Irma.
Claire Connelly says that her trip should have ended at the Middletown Train Station. But she found herself nearly 50 miles away at an NJ Transit railyard instead.
“All the lights were on, but there was no one there and I just started panicking,” Connelly says.
Connelly says that this was the final straw in a nearly 48-hour trip back to New Jersey.
She says that she started her journey by driving six hours to an airport in Jacksonville.
“It was like an $840 flight,” she says.
After landing in Newark Wednesday afternoon, she says that she made a quick stop at Kean University to visit a friend. She then boarded a train to get to her hometown of Highlands.
Connelly says that she was sleep-deprived, so she fell asleep on the train. When she woke up, she was all alone.
“I started yelling. I took my suitcase and I was like, slamming it against the side of the window because I wanted people to hear me,” she says.
Connelly says that when she was unable to find a way off the train she shot a video on her phone and posted it to Twitter in case she didn’t make it out safely.
Concerned friends and even NJ Transit reached out to her to make sure she was OK.
Connelly says that her phone only had 8 percent battery life left, but she was able to call 911 and was eventually rescued.
A spokesperson for NJ Transit tells News 12 New Jersey that conductors are supposed to inspect a train before they leave for the night.
“This is a very rare occurrence. We’ll be conducting a thorough investigation,” the spokesperson said in a statement.