String of Metra Incidents Involving Illinois Pedestrians Proves Worrisome

2011 has proved to be a tough year for pedestrians injured or killed near Illinois train tracks. There have been at least four incidents on Illinois Metra train lines since January, all of which have resulted in fatalities.

The most recent incident occurred on April 26th in the suburb of Des Plaines. Metra operators told passengers on the train that “a person had chosen to end their life” by walking in front of the train. The death was ruled a suicide.

Nine days before the Des Plaines incident, a 60-year-old man was on the tracks in the south suburbs when a commuter train struck and killed him. The train was headed northbound from Hazel Crest, Illinois, about 25 miles south of Chicago.

In mid-March, a 76-year-old man committed suicide by train in the north suburb of Wilmette. Witnesses said that the man crouched in the rail bed as a Metra train moved up the tracks.

The first accident of the year was on January 14th, when a west metro man was killed by a Metra train between the Kedzie and Oak Park stops on the commuter line.

Illinois Metra Train Incidents Tragic, But Preventable

This string of fatalities is tragic, but preventable. Operation Lifesaver, a group that focuses on railway safety, recommends that pedestrians be particularly careful around railway tracks. They say that rail lines are private property and should only be crossed at designated areas, such as a roadway rail crossing with lights and safety barriers. It can take trains up to a mile to stop, not nearly fast enough for a train to avoid hitting someone in its path. Trains also overhang the track by three feet on each side, so pedestrians are still in danger’s path if they are in the bed on either side of the track.

Metra incidents that cause injury or death to pedestrians is tragic, but people can avoid putting themselves in danger around trains by following the safety guidelines above. If you or a loved one was involved in a train accident, contacting an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney is recommended.