Toddler thrown onto CTA tracks in accident

Motorman taken off duty, train taken out of service
November 4, 2009 4:33:11 AM PST
The Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago police are investigating an accident involving a child who got stuck in the train doors while sitting in her stroller.The little girl was hospitalized after being thrown onto the tracks when the train started moving. She was released on Tuesday evening.

Red Line trains arrived and departed from the Morse Avenue stop regularly on Monday night stopping to let commuters get on and off. Witnesses say that's what was happening last night when a woman with a baby in a stroller rushed to board the train. She missed getting on but she managed somehow to get the stroller stuck between the doors and the train took off. She apparently watched as the stroller hit a wall and her 22-month-old daughter was thrown to the tracks.

"A guy at the end of the track said there's a baby down there. We ran over, the mother is about ten feet in front of me and at that point she jumped on the tracks and grabbed the child and I said ma'am hand her up to me," said Joel Weinberg, witness.

"The cry of anguish from this woman was so intense, so primal that you knew that she was hurting," said Rebecca Weinberg, witness.

Rebecca Weinberg called 911 and held the baby while the child's mother, Ebere Ozonwu, gathered up her things from off the tracks. Paramedics then took them to Children's Memorial Hospital. Witnesses meantime say the train continued for five more stops before the motorman found the stroller. A union leader questions how this could have happened.

"If the stroller had been caught inside the door, one, the doors should not have been able to close. The train would not be able to move," said Robert Kelly, Amalgamated Transit Union #308.

The CTA pulled the train out of service but found no problems.

"It doesn't appear any of the tests have come back to show the train was working improperly," said Richard Rodriguez, CTA president.

Now that the mother and toddler are back home union officials and CTA leaders say they will continue to investigate to figure out how the accident happened to make sure it doesn't happen again.


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