The young girl, identified by relatives as Adriana Chew, was outside with two older children, a relative and a family friend, when, police say, all three of them reportedly tried to beat an oncoming freight train by running across the tracks. Two of the children were successful, but Adriana was not.
The girl, whom relatives say attended pre-school Gary Elementary, was taken to area hospital but was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Police say the children were playing a field Saturday and decided to head home. But, to get there, they had to cross the train tracks. According to authorities, a freight train owned by EJ and E company was approaching when the children decided to dart ahead of it.
Residents in the area say the tracks where the accident occurred are busy and safety is always a concern.
"It's traumatic news. I have a 2-year-old, and I'm expecting in four months. I'm just nervous about my 2-year-old, who is so fascinated with trains. I just get scared that, that could have been her," said Jennifer Gilbert, who lives nearby.
A fence protects some, but not all, parts of the train tracks.
Many children live in the area. Adriana's relatives said they had worried about freight trains constantly. Family members did not want to speak on camera, but the told ABC7 Chicago that freight traffic in the area seems to have increased in the neighborhood and they hoped the accident would be an incentive to put up more barriers.
EJ and E company investigators were at the scene Saturday evening, and the investigation into the accident continues.