A Chicago police officer miraculously survived an accident on Sunday when her car was totaled by a train while chasing a suspect. Policeone.com reports that the officer was following her partner in pursuit of a suspect just before 4pm on Friday when she drove around a closed train gate at the Kedzie Brown Line CTA station, believing the tracks were clear. An inbound train had indeed cleared, but an outbound train was close behind, which slammed into the police car at high speed and left it completely destroyed. Authorities say the car was partially wrapped between two train cars partially leaning on the Kedzie station house, and crews had to work for hours to dislodge it from the train.
Our Chicago train accident lawyers learned that despite the wreckage, the police officer was able to free herself from the vehicle and sustained non life-threatening injuries. Paramedics took her to Advocate Masonic Medical Center where she was treated, and the CTA train operator was also hospitalized. The accident affected the train company’s service until 7:45pm, shutting off power in both directions between the Kimball and Western station while emergency crews helped clean up the scene. Thankfully, none of the 30 to 40 passengers aboard the train was injured and authorities say the riders were able to get on bus shuttles to travel to other stations.
Allegedly, nearby residents have reported they’ve seen similar accidents before, one stating he had seen at least a dozen accidents from drivers trying to go through the train gate. According to CTA, stop signs warned train operators to stop just before approaching the station in 2006, but after a Kedzie station renovation, those signs were moved with the addition of the gates and flashing lights. A chief of the CTA rail workers union told reporters that he may want to consider putting the stop sign back in light of all the accidents that occurred.
In a previous blog, our Illinois train accident lawyers have discussed the number and severity of train accidents in Illinois, as almost all of these accidents include property damage, personal injury, medical expenses, or fatalities. Statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) show that railroad crossings in Illinois are more dangerous in terms of accident population. In 2010, Illinois was the second deadliest state in train crossing fatalities out of ten states. The FRA is currently making efforts to improve safety near railroads in Illinois and many other states with a high number of train crossing fatalities.
Our Illinois train accident law firm would like to urge the public to always be cautious when traveling near railroad tracks. Railroad collisions have many causes, including improper installation of warning devices, improper sight lines that prevent drivers from seeing an oncoming train, failure to properly maintain crossing areas, or other types of negligence that may occur by either the train company or other vehicles involved. Surprisingly, nearly half of all collisions at railroad crossings occur when automatic warning devices such a flashing lights or gates are present and are functioning properly. Therefore, be aware of these warning devices and avoid train tracks when they are flashing. Be especially alert near train tracks that do not have these warning devices.
In addition, many people believe that if they ever crossed the train tracks at an inappropriate time, they would be able to avoid the train, or the train would be able to stop in time. However, most freight trains traveling at about 50 miles per hour take over a mile to stop. Therefore, if there is any possibility of a train coming nearby, avoid the train tracks and do not cross them until you are sure you can do so safely.
Our Chicago personal injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand that train accidents can result in life altering consequences. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a train accident due to a negligent driver, please contact our team of Chicago accident attorneys to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.