1 identified, 1 missing after being struck by Rock Island Metra train near Joliet

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- One person is dead and another is missing after a Joliet-bound Metra Rock Island District train struck a pedestrian in the southwest suburb Wednesday night.

The incident happened just before 7 p.m. on a bridge over Hickory Creek.

The deceased has been identified as 17-year-old Jacob Manka.

Authorities continued their search Thursday along a creek in Joliet for a teen that is still missing. Drones joined dive and swift water teams during search efforts.

"A lot of times you can't see the terrain at the bottom of the creek, so they have to watch were they step and we're not able to get boats in. We had a difficult time finding access points to get divers in there. The walls of the creek are steep," said Robert Scholets, Chief of the East Joliet Fire Protection Department.

Train officials said the engineer of Train 419 was headed westbound toward Joliet and as he went around a bend he saw three teenagers on the tracks. A fourth teenager who was not yet on the tracks said the two boys who were standing in the train's path were hit as they tried to run out of the way.
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Inbound and outbound Metra train movement is halted near Joliet after a pedestrian was struck by a train.



"He wasn't able to stop in time. We know the train hit two of the teenagers. We have found one of the victims," said Metra spokesperson Tom Miller.

Another teen on the opposite track escaped without harm.

Friends said Manka was a junior who attended high school in the Lincoln-Way School District along with the other missing teen who is presumed to be dead.

Joliet resident Barbara Zamora said she thinks she saw the group of teens Wednesday, but never imagined what would happen.

"I was like thinking about it and what if is those kids. I should have called the cops. I just hope they find him," Zamora said.

Lincoln-Way Central High School Spokesperson Jenn Hannon released this statement regarding the incident:

Lincoln-Way Central High School has suffered a loss in their community. Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends.

Grief counselors will remain on staff at the high school.
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