Two adults and a child were killed after a Metra train struck their vehicle Sunday afternoon on the Far South Side, officials said.
Just after 5 p.m., an inbound train struck a vehicle at the railroad crossing of 107th Street and Vincennes Avenue, Chicago fire officials said. The Rock Island train pushed the car about a half mile before coming to a complete stop near 103rd Street and Vincennes Avenue.
The force of the impact caused the train’s front car to partially derail, according to Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile. At some point, the vehicle caught fire, she said.
Only the frame of the dark SUV remained near the front of the train, after the vehicle had been dragged from 107th to 103rd. Rocks from the tracks littered the intersection at 103rd.
It’s unclear how fast the train was going at the time of the collision, though Reile noted the speed limit for trains in that area is 79 mph.
Two adults and one child riding in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene, according to fire officials.
A 43-year-old man, also in the vehicle, was transported to Little Company of Mary Hospital in good to fair condition, according to fire officials.
The train’s conductor and engineer also reported injuries, though they were believed to be non-life threatening, Reile said.
Forty-one passengers on board the train refused medical attention. They were transported to the 95th Red Line ‘L’ station so they could continue their way into the city, Reile said.
Sandy Wilson was standing across the street at 103rd and said right after the train came to a stop, two men ran to the vehicle to try to help the victims. She then saw crews work to remove the child and a woman from the car.
Standing nearby, Wanda Durrell said she was heartbroken when she heard one of the victims was a young child. “I have a 5-year-old granddaughter” Durrell said. “I just cant imagine”
Metra is in the early stages of its investigation into the crash.
“Our understanding at this point in time that everything was functioning as intended,” Reile said. “However, we will be doing — and this is normal operating procedure anytime there’s an incident involving a train whether it’s a fatality or not — we take downloads and check the equipment to make sure it was functioning at the time properly. But we have no information at this time to indicate that our signals and gates were not working.”
All inbound and outbound Metra Rock Island service has been stopped near 103rd.
The train was heading north into the city. It 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.
This is a developing story. Check back for details.