OAK LAWN, Ill. (WLS) -- A man from southwest suburban Oak Lawn was killed after a Metra Southwest Service train struck the SUV he was driving near Central Avenue Monday morning.
He was identified to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Arthur Hornsby, 59, of the 9200-block of Massasoit Avenue.
Hornsby's neighbor, Roger Wantiz, said they talked Monday morning, about 30 minutes before the crash.
"We were just talking about the Bears on Thursday night! He was a real big football fan," Wantiz said.
Investigators worked all morning to determine what happened.
"We're not sure how the car hit the train or the train hit the car," Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets said.
An inbound train hit a Honda Pilot around 7:40 a.m. A witness who saw the white SUV cross the tracks said it looked like the driver didn't realize the gates were down. The driver slammed on the brakes, but didn't stop soon enough. The SUV was pushed along the tracks like a toy. The witness said the arm of the gate bent, but did not break.
Hornsby was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:09 a.m.
Sheets said there were about 600 passengers on the train. Riders said they heard a loud boom and felt the train brake sharply. No one on board was injured.
"We waited about an hour and a half, then boarded a new train," one passenger said.
Investigators temporarily halted service in both directions. Trains were moving with delays around 9:30 a.m.
Residents said they try to be extra careful around the Metra tracks. Wantiz said he was devastated to hear of Hornsby's death.
"I'm sad. He was a great neighbor. When you get great neighbors, you're going to miss them," Wantiz said.
This incident was the third this year to involve a vehicle and resulted in a fatality, Metra officials said. Thirteen pedestrians were killed in incidents involving trains this year. But a majority of those incidents did not occur at crossings and most were suicides, Metra said.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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