One dead after Metra train hits truck at Clarendon Hills crossing

Metra’s BNSF Line has resumed some service after a train hit a truck at a crossing in Clarendon Hills Wednesday morning, killing one passenger.

The crash occurred after 8 a.m. in Clarendon Hill’s downtown and resulted in the death of a woman and minor injuries to two other passengers plus the engineer and conductor.

The identity of the woman killed has been withheld pending notification of family, the DuPage County coroner’s office said. An autopsy will be conducted Thursday.

As of 3 p.m., the commuter railroad was operating a limited number of trains and advising riders on its busiest line to find alternate ways home, such as the Union Pacific West.

One eyewitness was in her car, stopped at the railway crossing at Prospect Avenue, and saw a truck “just stuck on the tracks. I think it had started going across before the gates went down.

“Then I heard someone yelling, ‘get out of the truck, get out of the truck and then — smash. It hit between the cab and the trailer part,” added the witness who asked that her name not be used.



Fire erupted right away. “The flames went to the top of the light (poles),” she added. “The emergency vehicles were here in 30 seconds.”

The truck was apparently a moving truck, Metra officials said. The occupants of the truck were not injured.

“All of us at Metra and BNSF are devastated by this death and will cooperate with the NTSB,” spokesman Michael Gillis said. It’s the first passenger fatality on the Metra system since 2005.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the fiery crash.

The agency is “launching a go-team to investigate Wednesday’s grade crossing collision,” with experts expected to arrive Wednesday evening, the NTSB said.

Inbound and outbound service was suspended for about six hours after Train #1242 hit the truck. It originally was scheduled to pick up at all stations but Metra switched the train to an express with no planned stop in Clarendon Hills this morning.



For the afternoon rush, “we are anticipating limited service and customers are encouraged to seek alternate transportation including the Union Pacific West,” Metra said this afternoon.

Passengers using the Clarendon Hills station should check Metra for updates.

The truck located just south of the BNSF line was completely charred with some debris on the tracks that included what appeared to be a window from a Metra train.

Clarendon Hills resident Mark Harrison wondered whether construction on both sides of the BNSF tracks that caused a dip in the road might have affected the truck.

“When you get to the tracks, there’s a gap. It’s like going over a curb,” Harrison said. “If you don’t slow down, you can feel it. My first thought was that could be an issue, but I’m not sure.”


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