Metra BNSF passenger killed after train hits truck in Clarendon Hills; 4 injured

CLARENDON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) – A Metra passenger was killed and four others were injured after a BNSF train hit a box truck in Clarendon Hills on Wednesday morning.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said in addition to one passenger who was killed, two other passengers and two BNSF employees were injured in the crash at the Prospect Avenue crossing. All injuries were described as minor.

“All of us on Metra and BNSF Railway are devastated by this death and will work hand in hand with the NTSB to find out what happened,” Gillis said.

Truck catches fire after being hit by Metra train

Authorities have not released the identity of the woman who was killed, but it appears she was ejected from inside the train as it hit the truck.

The incident created a chaotic and scary morning for many commuters and people living downtown.

“It was the most horrible thing I had ever seen,” said commuter Tim French.

The crash appears to have happened when a truck got stuck in the tracks as a Metra train approached Clarendon Hills.

Metra officials provide update on fatal crash

A video taken by witnesses on the spot shows the initial chaos of this train which crossed a truck before it burst into flames. Witness Tom Zurgot said he was in a car directly behind the truck.

“All of a sudden I saw the three guys in the truck jumping as fast as they could and then the train slammed into it at full speed,” Zurgot said. “It was shocking…you see videos of trains hitting cars all the time, but then you see it live and see a truck lifted into the air and pushed about 100 feet.”

The men in that truck evacuated uninjured. Metra officials said four other people on the train also suffered minor injuries, including two Metra employees.

The crash blast took place within yards of commuters waiting at the Metra stop.

“There was debris flying everywhere and then we saw the truck flip over and explode,” French said.

Chopper7 on Metra Fatal Crash

Construction has been going on at this stop in Clarendon Hills for about a year now, as a new station is built. Commuters believe that the construction could have blocked the truck on these lanes.

“I think what’s probably happened, and that’s what everybody’s done, is you get to that lip and you have to take it very slow,” French said, “and that’s it. That’s probably one of the reasons the truck driver was sitting there.”

A Metra spokesperson said it was the second fatal passenger accident in Metra’s history. The first fatal accident occurred in Chicago on September 17, 2005, when two passengers died in an accident on the Rock Island District Line near the 47th Street Bridge.

The National Transportation Safety Board will now handle the investigation of the incident.

“The taxi, which was driving the train, would have a front-facing camera on it that will be uploaded,” Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.

Metra announces schedule changes at BNSF

Metra said BNSF trains plan to stop at Clarendon Hills station on Wednesday evening so commuters can pick up cars left at the station on Wednesday morning, but passengers will not be allowed to board from the station.

On Thursday, Metra said the BNSF line will operate on a Saturday schedule. There will be no express service and trains will not make any stops at Clarendon Hills station.

Metra also said passengers can use the Union Pacific West Line as an alternative and can call the RTA at (312) 836-7000 for travel assistance.

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