In Melrose Park, this past Friday, Dec. 15, a freight train struck a car and pushed it about four blocks. The car was traveling near North 19th Avenue and Main Street when the driver decided to circumvent the crossing gates by going around them. The vehicle ended up near South 15th and Railroad Avenue.
Unfortunately, a 21-year-old woman sitting in the passenger seat was killed. It took about 40 minutes for the Maywood Fire Department to extract her from the vehicle. She was unresponsive and pronounced dead after being taken to Loyola University Medical Center.
A police officer, arriving first at the accident scene, pulled the driver from the car, who was also transported to the same hospital. His condition is unknown, although he was conscious when pulled from the vehicle.
No one in the train, which is owned by Union Pacific, was injured. Although the reason for the accident has not been stated, it appears the fault may belong to the driver who circumvented the crossing gates.
Trains and other commercial vehicle accidents are often tragic due to the size and weight of the carriers. Trains cannot stop quickly, nor do they have the option of swerving to miss something in their path. Braking and coming to a full stop can take up to a mile or more, so pushing this car four blocks would not be unusual.
Whatever the cause of this accident, a fatality occurred. A full investigation will be done to ensure that the warning signals were proper, and that the engineer did all of the right things in his attempt to stop the train and prevent further damage. The driver will also be investigated and possibly cited for illegally going around the railroad crossing gates.
When there is loss of life or severe injuries in any accident, the victim or victim’s family should contact an attorney early to stay on top of the accident investigation. If someone is found to be at fault, whether it is a friend or the owner of a commercial vehicle, insurance coverage should be available to compensate the victim or one’s family for their damages or losses.
Source: Chicago Sun Times, “Woman killed, man injured when train strikes car in Melrose Park,” Ashlee Rezin, Dec. 16, 2017