Man fatally struck while trying to catch Metra Rock Island Line train in Midlothian

ByJessica D'Onofrio and Stephanie Wade and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, September 15, 2023
Man fatally struck while trying to catch Metra train
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A Metra Rock Island Line train fatally struck a man trying to catch a train in Midlothian Friday morning.

MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. (WLS) -- A man trying to catch a Metra Rock Island Line train was struck and killed Friday morning in Midlothian.

The horrible accident unfolded in front of a platform full of Metra commuters just before 8 a.m.

Metra officials said a man had just purchased a ticket and was running to catch the Rock Island outbound train when he was struck and killed.

"I just heard a loud boom or crash or something like that," commuter Tavia Williams said. "It just happened so fast and my mind just went black."

Williams was in the parking lot when it happened.

"It kinda sounded like a crash cause, you know, the train was trying to stop because it's going so fast but it was just too late," Williams said. "So yeah it was really sad."

Metra police and authorities spent hours investigating as the train was stopped on the tracks.

"He was trying to beat the train to make it. And unfortunately, he got caught under the train, he got hit," Williams said. "Don't rush. A job is not worth your life."

Ashley Pulido catches the inbound train which was delayed.

"It's so sad and it's not worth it," Pulido said. "Don't run to catch the train...I've heard so many stories of people falling and, you know, it happens, slipping on ice in the middle of winter, it's not worth it."

One passenger described the victim as a regular commuter, who often rides this line.

"The man was in front of her when it happened. He was trying to cross the tracks, but she sees him every day," Pulido said.

Metra inbound and outbound trains have resumed at reduced speed, with delays up to 40 minutes.

According to CN Rail, last year, the U.S. had 2,194 rail grade crossing collisions, causing 274 deaths and 658 injuries.

"Newer trains are quiet. You're not going to hear it until it's right on you," said CN Railroad Police Special Agent Jeffrey Price.

Price said Chicagoland is a critical area as the country's epicenter of rail traffic.

"The linear path of a train makes it look like it's a far distance away, and it's moving very slowly. But in reality, that train could be moving 20, 30, 40, 50 miles even up to 60-70 miles in some part of the area. So, trains are very fast," Price said.

Next week is National Rail Safety Week. Officials said there is often an uptick in rail incidents this time of year as people get busier and kids are back to school.