Man killed in Morton Grove train crash identified; Metra says gates were working

MORTON GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- Authorities have identified the man killed Sunday after his vehicle was struck by an Amtrak train in north suburban Morton Grove.

Mihalis Vassos, of Skokie, was the sole victim of the accident, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner's office. The 57-year-old died of multiple injuries sustained in the crash and his death was ruled an accident.

Vassos was traveling eastbound on Lincoln Avenue at about 12:05 p.m. Sunday when a southbound Amtrak train slammed into his minivan as it crossed the tracks, Morton Grove police said.
In a written statement issued Monday, Metra, which operates the warning equipment at the crossing, blamed Vassos for the crash:

"In spite of eyewitness reports alleging that the gates at the rail crossing did not activate, data downloaded from the gate mechanisms at the intersection as well as video from the Amtrak locomotive verified that the gates were in the down position, the warning lights were activated and the vehicle's driver drove around the gates and into the path of the oncoming train."

Roads were closed as authorities investigated. None of the 254 passengers or crew members on board the train were injured.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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