Serious train accidents are an unfortunate reality in this nation, and the Chicagoland area is no exception. However, it is not often that this area sees two major accidents in one week. That is just what happened in the week leading up to this New Year’s Eve.
In the first accident, which occurred the Tuesday before New Year’s Eve, witnesses reported that a man drove his car around lowered crossing gates and into the path of a Metra express train. The crash occurred during the early morning rush hour in the northwest Chicago suburb of Palatine, on Metra’s Union Pacific Northwest Line.
The driver, Michael Levgard, was 64 years old. He was declared dead at the scene only minutes after the accident, although it took rescuers around a half hour to extricate his body from the wreckage. His car, crushed and totaled, was left on the tracks, causing around two hours of delays. The accident caused serious damage to the lead car of the train but, fortunately, no passenger injuries were reported.
Mr. Levgard may have believed that he could safely proceed around the crossing gates because a train was stopped in the station. However, there was another Metra express train passing through the station at the same time.
That same week, a Metra train struck a car in the suburb of West Chicago, on Metra’s Union Pacific West Line. The car was unoccupied; it had been pushed onto the tracks by an earlier automobile accident. The accident stopped the line for an hour and caused delays well past the morning rush hour, but resulted in no significant injuries.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago train accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.