Joliet couple killed in train, car crash

June 19, 2009 4:31:59 AM PDT
Two people were killed when a train struck their car in Romeoville, Ill. Emergency crews were called to the tracks near 135th and New Avenue in the south suburban town around 1 p.m. Thursday. . Officials said the vehicle was blocking the intersection when it was struck by Amtrak train #22, the Texas Eagle, traveling from San Antonio to Chicago. Officials have not said why the vehicle was on the tracks, which are owned by the Canadian National Railway.

Officials said New Avenue runs parallel to the tracks there, and the car had just been given a green light on New when the accident occurred. It appears the car pulled directly onto the tracks.

"Apparently, the light for southbound New Avenue turned green. We don't' know if they mistakenly thought it was safe to turn," said Lt. Mark Turvey, Romeoville Police Department. "The train was coming almost at that moment. It was too late."

Witnesses said the crossing gate made contact with the car because it had dropped into position. The car disintegrated on contact, and the couple died instantly.

The crossing gates and lights were all working correctly.

It is unclear how fast the Texas Eagle was going, but there were about 200 people onboard. No one on the train was hurt.

The couple in the car was identified Thursday as Harry Hoffman, 74, of Joliet and his 64-year-old wife, Doreen, were killed.


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