Our train accident attorneys often discuss the severity of train and semi truck accidents and the serious consequences that motorists may face after an accident involving either vehicle. We recently learned of a collision involving both of these massive vehicles that witnesses described as “horrific.”
On Monday afternoon, a Metra train was traveling east toward Chicago in suburban Bartlett, according to NBC Chicago. Authorities say a semi-truck driver approaching the Western Avenue crossing thought he could make it past the tracks before the train traveled by. The train suddenly struck the semi-truck, which was carrying a load of new cars, and reportedly dragged it 100 feet east on the Milwaukee District/West line.
Police rushed to the scene to see both seriously damaged vehicles. Several cars in parking lots near the crash scene were also damaged. Witnesses who saw the aftermath of the accident said they knew the “initial bang” they heard was from a train accident. Two passengers on the train suffered minor injuries and the truck driver remained uninjured. Investigators told reporters the Western Avenue crossing is not considered high risk or high volume, but because the semi-truck driver quickly navigated across the train tracks, the collision took place as a result. Inbound and outbound service was stopped in both directions throughout the day, but service was fully operational by the next morning. Charges have not yet been filed against the semi-truck driver.
Illinois has a somewhat high number of train crossing accidents take place every year in comparison to many other states. In 2010, Illinois was the second deadliest state in train crossing fatalities out of ten states; there were a total of 27 fatalities in a 12.8 million population in Illinois. This is more than twice the number in much larger 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 accidents that may bring injury or fatality to those involved.
Many people believe that if they ever crossed the train tracks at an inappropriate time, they would either 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. 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.
Train crashes can cause a significant amount of harm to those involved. This includes personal injury, damage to property, or even emotional damage to passengers or witnesses and their families. Victims may be able to file a claim in civil court against negligent parties who contributed to the accident occurring. Our lawyers are here to help you learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.