GPS & train collide, head’s up!

Photo: Frank Becerra Jr. /The Journal News at, by

I guess we can thank poor Bo Bai for reminding us to never, ever bury our heads completely into navigational gadgetry. Bai was headed to the Saw Mill River Parkway in Bedford Hills, NY, but according to a railroad spokesman, “As the car is driving over the tracks, the GPS system tells him to turn right, and he turns right onto the railroad tracks,” adding “he tried to stop the train by waving his arms, which apparently was not totally effective.”

We can enjoy that a bit of dry wit because, thankfully, no one was hurt as the train pulverized the rental car over a couple hundred feet of track. While I got this detail from the good coverage at, the story is roaring around the internets including a site which suggests that you don’t outsource your brain to your GPS system. Hear, hear! Oddly, though, no site I’ve seen thought to create a useful link or image (below) showing where the accident took place, which is now so easy to do thanks to technology. And many reporters presume that the GPS made the mistake, whereas I’ll bet Bai misunderstood its instructions. Plus, obviously, he was not properly aware of his situation, i.e. had his head somewhere other than up! The railroad, by the way, plans to charge him for the badly damaged track, and whereas he has a pretty unique name (is this him?), he’s probably forever tagged, Google-wise, with this bonehead moment.
  PS Here’s a follow up report which shows a large crossing sign right in front of the tracks.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

6 Responses

  1. Don says:

    I live 3 miles from the Green Lane crossing and I have to tell you that this guy must take all instructions in a literal sense and not question obvious errors. The access to Saw Mill Parkway north is clearly visible even before you cross the tracks… the only right hand turn is the parkway.
    For many years one could cross over the parkway and head southbound; but the number of accidents at Green Lane closed that access leaving the Northbound on ramp access only. Gotta tell ya that this guy must have really been “out of it” to make this error.. despite the GPS voice.
    Love the Panbo site

  2. T.Thompson says:

    I wonder how many minor accidents have been caused by this lack of situational awareness and have gone unreported as such.
    Look out the windshield!

  3. Terry says:

    Glad no one was injured or killed, but c’mon man – how dense do you have to be?
    Wouldn’t the first sign that you’re not on track (no pun intended, or maybe it is) would be the sudden change in road surface?

  4. ronbo says:

    Read about a well-heeled English lady driving her top-of-the-line Mercedes into a river. Seems the GPS showed the road continuing to the other side.
    She got a ride home and her car was pulled out the following day. Talk about situation awareness!

  5. Richard says:

    No the guy you have from MIT is not this guy. The guy that wrecked the train is from CA. Check out this article:

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I don’t know for sure, Richard, but couldn’t the same Bo Bai have gone to MIT and then gotten tech work in California?
    More amazing things have happened, like another guy having a GPS assisted wreck in the same place!

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