Articles Posted in Train Accident

Recently, The Daily Herald reported a fatal Illinois car accident that occurred over the 4th of July weekend. In the early hours of the July 3rd, a Carol Stream man and his girlfriend were driving near Itasca when they were stopped by a railroad crossing. Although there was an approaching train, the man disregarded the railroad gates and proceeded to cross the tracks. Unfortunately, the train stuck the passenger side of the vehicle — ultimately dragging it until the train could come to a complete stop.

The female passenger of the vehicle sustained severe internal and external injuries and was airlifted to a local hospital from the scene – regrettably, she died the following day. The driver of the vehicle sustained moderate injuries, including broken bones and bruising, and was also taken to a local hospital. It was soon after discovered that the driver was intoxicated and registered a 0.183 BAC – more than twice the Illinois legal limit of 0.08. Police arrested the man at the hospital and authorities are currently charging him with aggravated DUI causing a death. This type of felony can carry a $25,000 fine, as well as, up to 14 years in prison.

According to the Illinois Commerce Commission, over 50% of vehicle/train collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (such as blinking lights/gates/bells). Not only that, but if a crash does occur and the train is operating at about 55 mph, it takes the train thousands of feet to come to a complete stop. With the increase in fatalities caused by vehicle/train collisions, the state of Illinois has taken on an initiative called “Operation Lifesaver.” Operation Lifesaver is an awareness program that educations citizens the devastating results that can occur from unsafely crossing railroad tracks.

Last week we reported on a pair of cars that crashed into an immobile freight train when emergency lights failed to function.

The two car crashes occurred on opposite sides of a crossing on the 9000 block of South Halsted Street, early in the morning, around 3 am. The train was headed eastbound in the night. The conductor noticed that the emergency lights and gates were not working. The lack of lights meant that the black train was almost invisible to the approaching cars.

The train was forced to stop before it completely crossed the tracks because another train was stalled in front of it. It was at that moment that the crashes occur. A southbound car crashed into the side of the stopped tanker first, following shortly after by a northbound vehicle. Four people were injured in the pair of Chicago train accidents. Three of them are currently listed in critical condition.

The Chicago Tribune is now reporting that, following investigations into these Chicago car accidents, officials now know that the emergency lights were disabled because of a buildup of road salt interfered with the electric circuitry running the device. Neighborhood residents dispute that claim, however. They assert that there have been problems with the lights for the past few weeks, before heavy salt was used following recent snow.
Continue reading ›

Some of the worst accidents on our roadways occur at railroad crossings. Cars and drivers have little chance of escaping damage when involved in a run-in with a machine of the size and power of modern trains.

That is what makes the pair of train accidents that occurred this morning all the more tragic. According to the Chicago Tribune the two crashes occurred on opposite sides of a crossing on the 9000 block of South Halsted Street, early in the morning, around 3 am. It was obviously dark outside and the train was headed eastbound. The train conductor noticed that the emergency lights and gates were not working. The lack of lights meant that the black train was almost invisible to the approaching cars.

The train was forced to stop before it completely crossed the tracks because another train was stalled in front of it. It was at that moment that the crashes occur. A southbound car crashed into the side of the stopped tanker first, following shortly after by a northbound vehicle. Four people were injured in the pair of Chicago train accidents. Three of them are currently listed in critical condition.
Continue reading ›

The Pioneer Local reported yesterday on a fortunate outcome to a potentially tragic car crash.

A 73-year old suburban woman was caught up in a unique Chicago car accident when her vehicle became stuck on railroad tracks. Around 3:30 in the afternoon on Thursday the woman had just made a right turn onto Garfield Road from Chicago Avenue. Just after making the maneuver, the woman’s vehicle began crossing railroad tracks on Garfield Road. However, while atop the tracks, the woman’s car became stuck. She was unable to propel the vehicle forward or backwards.

While stranded there, the emergency gates and lights began flashing indicating an oncoming train. Luckily the elderly woman was still able to move quickly enough to get out of the vehicle and away from danger. This was aided by the fact that the approaching train was carrying coal and not moving at an accelerated speed. The train collided with the car, but no one was injured in the event.

This Chicago car crash highlights a little discussed potential risk at railroad crossings. In almost all cases, trains and car collide when a vehicle attempts to beat a train or drive around clear warning signs of an approaching train. However, there also remains the possibility, as here, of a car become somehow incapacitated while on the tracks. In those cases, the first step is to ensure that everyone is out of the vicinity of the car in case of collision. Once that is established, it is important to contact authorities as quickly as possible to see if communication can be made with any approaching train to avoid an accident.
Continue reading ›

The Daily Herald reported last week on a train accident that struck on the city’s west side. The incident involved an outbound Union Pacific-West line train that struck a pedestrian on the tracks.

The crash occurred shortly before 7 a.m. on Friday morning by the Kedzie Metra station near Cicero and Lake. Few details on the train crash are available, except that one pedestrian was killed in the accident. Metra trains were delayed for hours following the crash. Investigators are still working to determine exactly what happened.

It is imperative that extra precautions be taken by all travelers around these intersections. There are several areas in the city where drivers and walkers often take unnecessary risks. For cars, one of the most common risks involve stopping on the tracks instead of always allowing the gap to remain when traffic builds up across the intersection. The consequences of collision are too high to justify taking any chances with that conduct.
Continue reading ›

Car travelers have many different obstacles of which to be aware when using local roads. From other cars and pedestrians to semi-trailers and bicyclists, our roadways remain bustling areas of intersection that pose constant risks. One of those risks that is often underappreciated is that posed by speeding trains at railroad-road crossings. The danger remains potent for those in cars any time they travel near railroad tracks.

Day after day more travelers are hurt or killed in run-ins with speeding trains. The Chicago Tribune reported on another train accident near our city late last week. Witnesses report that the driver of a westbound car was at a crossing on 97th Street and Eggleston Avenue around 6:40 p.m. A train that had left Union Station shortly before was headed south toward the intersection. The crossing gate was lowered, blocking traffic from the on-coming train.

However, for reasons that will likely never be fully known, the young driver attempted to drive around the warning gate. The car was struck by the speeding train. Emergency responders rushed to the scene. A 20-year old female passenger was pronounced dead shortly after while the male driver was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.
Continue reading ›

Car accidents are so numerous because their causes come in a variety of forms. Sometimes they result from distractions for the driver-texting, sleepiness, chatting. Other times car crashes are caused by road conditions, from constructions zones to icy weather. Drivers are on the lookout for other cars, trucks, bikers, and pedestrians. In Chicago that list also includes trains, as several tracks, both Chicago Transit Authority and Metra lines, run across many roadways throughout the city.

Particularly troubling about train accidents is the fact that so many individuals are at risk. Depending on the circumstances a derailed train threatens dozens if not hundreds of lives. The need for safety at these intersections cannot be underestimated.

The Chicago Tribune reported last weekend on an accident involving a car and a CTA Brown line train. At 7:30am on Sunday morning a CTA brown line train was crossing Kedzie Avenue in Albany Park when the accident occurred. A car was on the tracks at that location and the train conductor was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. The car was smashed and the train was derailed. The train station platform was also significantly damaged in the accident.

The driver of the car was rushed to a local hospital where he remains in serious to critical condition. The train conductor was also taken to receive medical care. Fortunately, no train passengers were injured in the wreck.
Continue reading ›

The Tribune Local reported earlier this week on a car crash involving a small vehicle and a speeding Metra train on Dundee Road in Northbrook.

On Monday, an elderly driver barreled through a closed gate at a Metra railroad crossing. The car was halfway across the tracks when an oncoming train struck, severing the vehicle in two. The power of the collision was so strong that one part of the car ended up breaking through a fence and entering the yard of nearby home and the other half was propelled down the street.

Investigators are confident that the lights indicating an oncoming train were flashing and the gate blocking the roadway was down.

Chicago city officials have finally admitted that a dangerous train/road intersection is too risky to remain in place and will be improved this month. The Chicago Tribune reported on the planned changes to the crossings in the Union Pacific Railroad Corridor on Nagle Avenue between Avondale and Northwest Highway.

This particular crossing near the Kennedy Expressway is a high-volume location, presenting many opportunities for car accidents. An earlier report by the Tribune uncovered how this intersection was one of the most dangerous on all of Chicago’s roads. The set-up around the road/train track crossing makes it common for cars to build up while waiting for the light in front of them to change. Many vehicles end up getting caught on the tracks, unable to move until the light changes. That means that many drivers find themselves in the predicament of hoping for a light change before a train comes down the line.

A bridge appears to be the ideal way to remove the danger from the railroad crossing. However, the current plan is simply to improve signage, add concrete panels, and a few other smaller changes in the upcoming month. The more expansive measures (like bridge building and improved electronic circuitry) are too expensive for the city.

According to the Daily Herald, a local man was killed last week when his car was struck by a fast moving Metra train.

Authorities explain that the man was driving his vehicle at a high speed last Wednesday while it was raining. As he was coming upon the railroad crossing, the lights were flashing indicating that a train was approaching and that driver’s should stop. However, witnesses report that the man ignored the flashing lights and barreled through the intersection anyway.

Unfortunately, he miscalculated and his car struck the front of the Metra train that was traveling through the intersection. The man’s vehicle was crushed and began spinning for several seconds. It eventually burst into flames. When authorities arrived at the scene, the vehicle was on its roof and the driver could not be saved.

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers
Contact Information