Woman, 5-year-old girl ID'd in Rock Island Metra train crash with car in Beverly, killing 3

Pick-up truck drove around crossing gates to try to beat train, witnesses say

ByJessica D'Onofrio and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Girl, 5, among 3 dead in Beverly Metra train crash
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A 5-year-old girl has been identified as one of the victims in a deadly crash involving a Metra train in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 5-year-old girl and a 38-year-old woman have been identified as two of three victims in a deadly crash involving a Metra train in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood Sunday.

The Cook County Medical Examiner identified Essence Ransberry, 5, and Joneisha Ransberry, 38, Monday. The identity of the man has not yet to be released, however, the three are believed to be a family, fire officials said.

Metra officials said Monday they have spoken to witnesses who told Metra police that a pick-up truck actually went around cars and then went around the gate to beat the train.

Metra official provides update after Rock Island train collides with car, killing 3

Metra crews were on the scene Monday morning as they appeared to check the gates, lights and bells at the Far South Side train crossing.

Metra believes they were operational Sunday afternoon when witnesses said a Chevy Avalanche tried to beat the train at the Metra crossing at West 107th Street around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

"The car went around and tried to beat the train," witness Deja Gardner said. "The car went up in flames."

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"We got up to 107th Street and we heard a thump and we saw smoke and you just put two and two together right there," Metra passenger Greg Smalls said.

Smalls was one of the 41 people onboard the inbound Metra train from Rock Island which dragged the pick-up truck for several blocks.

"The motorman tried to stop. He tried his best. He was blowing his horn, blowing his horn, blowing his horn. Unfortunately didn't have enough time," Smalls said.

A spokesperson for Metra estimated that the train was moving at around 79 MPH. And after reviewing the on-train video, Metra investigators said the gates were down before the impact.

The train left Joliet at 4:25 p.m. and was due downtown at 5:25 p.m., Reile said. Its last stop before the crash was at the Blue Island Vermont Street station. The train was expressing to the 35th Street station.

"It's the worst thing I've seen," said Michael Gillis, spokesperson for Metra. "I've been doing this job for 12 years and this is the worst thing I've seen."

This was the second fatal train accident in the Chicago area over the weekend. A 5-year-old girl was among three victims killed when a minivan was hit by a freight train in East Chicago, Indiana on Saturday.

The Sun-Times Media Report contributed to this article.