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Metra Passenger Train Crash Semi-Dump Truck at Northwest Highway and Mount Prospect Rd

Fri May 13 2011 9:50 am
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VIDEO: Metra passenger train crash with semi-trailer dump truck at Northwest Highway and Mount Prospect Road.

Driver of Semi-Trailer Truck Killed; Train Engineer in Critical Condition

Mount Prospect firefighters and police responded at 8:40 a.m. Friday to a truck vs. train crash at Northwest Highway and Mount Prospect Road. Des Plaines Fire Department also responded on the initial alarm. Mount Prospect police also activated their CERT team for the incident at about 9:30 a.m.

The impact derailed the first passenger car, caused intrusion damage to the left side of the passenger car, and blackened from soot and splashed truck fuel most of the left side of the second passenger car. All train cars of Metra No. 636 remained upright.

The truck driver, a 59-years-old man from Prospect Heights, was killed in the crash. The train’s engineer, who was sitting in the lead passenger car of the train running with the locomotive pushing from behind, was reported to be critically injured. People in the lead passenger car and the second passenger car reported seeing flames rush past the train car and felt the heat of the flames.

The train came to a rest about 300 yards east of the impact, just west of the Lattoff YMCA. The blue and white truck cab top was split from the chassis and from the dump trailer and remained at the intersection with Mount Prospect Road. The driver was ejected during the crash. His body rested on the ground between the top of the cab and the chassis of the cab and the truck’s trailer. The truck driver’s body was protected by a white sheet and an orange barricade just east of dump truck trailer and just west of the truck’s cab top. Early reports were that truck driver was lying near the intersection at impact.

At least 40 patients and passengers of the Metra train are being evaluated and transported to area hospitals. Union Pacific and Metra spoke people report that at least 29 passengers were transported to area hospitals. About 10 people were evaluated at the scene but were not transported. Patients transported went to Northwest Community Hospital, Lutheran General and Glenbrook.

Initially, a third alarm EMS box for ambulances was requested by Des Plaines Fire Department just before 9:10 a.m. Friday. The EMS alarm was raised to a 5th alarm just before 10:10 a.m. with ambulances returning to the scene from the hospital after they completed transportation of victims. Most injuries appear to be minor. Ambulances from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, North Maine, Niles, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling and other were called to the scene.

Police departments from Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Rosemont assisted Mount Prospect police with traffic management.

Union Pacific stated that it appears that the truck driver was northwestbound on Northwest Highway and made a left turn to southbound Mount Prospect Road. The Union Pacific spokesman also stated that the truck driver ignored the warning system and downed gates, which were functioning normally. The driver had to cross into the northbound lanes of Mount Prospect Road to get around the train gate on the north side of the train tracks. The truck was carrying a load of old concrete that had been removed from another location and was probably heading toward a concrete crusher near O’Hare International Airport. The load of concrete was also scattered about the scene near the severely damage truck.

The entire Union Pacific northwest line was closed in both directions after the crash.

On scene iPhone photos …

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