Police from Palatine and Metra responded shortly before 3:42 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, 2022 to a report that a Metra train on the Union Pacific Northwest Line was involved with a vehicle stuck on the tracks or a crash at Quentin Road and Colfax Street in Palatine.
The crash was reported by CARDINAL NEWS as an apparent minor crash with initially no injuries reported. However, some Facebook users and a Twitter user claimed the car wasn’t hit by the train, and used the incident to spread drama about the news media and Metra customer service.
Metra initially posted on Twitter that a car was on the tracks. An update posted by Metra five minutes later stated that a car was struck by Metra train #625, apparently after a Metra conductor inspected the scene.
Some Facebook users had their own system of fact-finding and truth seeking. Their information contradicted the official notice from Metra, and involved criticism of news media and CARDINAL NEWS, including the Facepalm emoji — the hand shown pressing against the head of a person used to display frustration or embarrassment at the ineptitude of a person, business or situation.
A Facebook user said her employee/friend’s car was missed by the train, and set off a barrage of criticism of the news media. Katie Burris claimed that the wheel broke in the involved car while crossing the tracks before the Metra train was coming. Burris said her friend was stuck on the tracks and that the the train missed her friend’s car by inches. Next, she elaborated how she learned how misinformation is spread.
However, Metra police communications indicated that the train made contact with the car. The Metra police dispatcher at 3:43 p.m. told a Metra police officer assigned to the case that Palatine police called Metra police because the train made contact with the car. An assigned Metra police officer referring to the conductor on Metra Train #625, confirmed at 4:01 p.m. that the train DID hit the vehicle. Police on the scene indicated the driver was not in the car when the train hit the car.
Metra Police audio describing that a Metra train did hit a vehicle in Palatine on Wednesday afternoon, July 20, 2022. YouTube Tips ⓘ
“The wheel broke crossing the tracks before the train was coming. My friend was stuck on the tracks the train missed her car by inches.”
— Katie Burris (on an official CARDINAL NEWS Facebook page)
“Wow If I have ever wondered about how misinformation is spread I definitely learned today!!!! Just because someone says something even on the news it doesn’t make it the truth. Our employee/ friend was crossing a railroad track and her front wheel literally broke off. So her car was stuck on the tracks a train came after this happened and missed her car by inches. Facebook is blowing up with news of a car being hit by a train even CBS has a helicopter there (sic) saying a train hit a car.” [Faceepalm].
— Katie Burris (on her own personal page)
Then Rob Connolly added his comment to an official CARDINAL NEWS Facebook page claiming “bad journalism” by CARDINAL NEWS. Connolly claimed that he passed the train scene and saw that the front of the car was not smashed. He didn’t mention whether he got out and inspected the car, or whether he spoke with the Metra conductor, but based on his limited observation and Katie’s comment, he made up his mind, and went on to claim that the CARDINAL NEWS article was another example of “bad journalism.” Connolly added a reactive comment to Katie Burris, “glad everyone is ok. Such bad reporting on story.”
Once again bad journalism!!! There was no contact with trian (sic) and car. I passed the car yesterday and the front was not smashed plus read the first comment on top. See post below mine (he was referring to Katie’s post on a CARDINAL NEWS Facebook page).
— Rob Connolly
glad everyone is ok. Such bad reporting on story
— Rob Connolly
Then Jim Stolzman responded on Katie’s personal page, claiming that the media is the enemy of the people. Stolzman added, [stupid and gullible people] “have the answer to every question imaginable right there in their hands, but they’re too lazy to look it up and instead get the false info from a biased social media platform and biased msm.”
“The media is the enemy of the people but people are too stupid and gullible to know better. They have the answer to every question imaginable right there in their hands, but they’re too lazy to look it up and instead get the false info from a biased social media platform and biased msm. Hence the division in this country! False, fake news that creates division is money for the media. That’s why it’s spread so much.”
Sandi Kourik responded on Katie’s personal page by stating, “News has no ethics” … and Katie Burris gave her comment a “thumbs up.”
A Twitter user took time to criticize Metra Wednesday night by writing …
“Metra should be absolutely 100% disappointed in the actions of their staff today on UP NW 650. 3 HOURS on your train, while TWO other trains passed us, and ZERO communication between conductors and passengers. UNACCEPTABLE. I thought you were big on communication?”
The same person described delays at 4:30 pm. Wednesday by writing …
“This is unacceptable @Metra. I’ve been sick on this train for an hour, now we’re going BACK to Paletine (sic) to get on another train???”
Metra Alert UP-NW – Train #625, scheduled to arrive Crystal Lake at 4:00 PM, is stopped near Palatine, a vehicle struck by the train(update)
— Metra UP-NW (@metraUPNW) July 20, 2022
Metra Alert UP-NW – Train #625, scheduled to arrive Crystal Lake at 4:00 PM, is stopped near Palatine, a vehicle stuck on the tracks
— Metra UP-NW (@metraUPNW) July 20, 2022
The initial CARDINAL NEWS article indicated that the car hit the train — information that was based on a tip. The initial article also provided the tweet from the official Metra UPNW line that stated the train struck the car. The initial article also provided a live Twitter timeline for Metra UPNW in case any updates from Metra occurred after the article was published.
The initial article also provided the following disclaimer …
“The information in this article is an early report published before any summary information was confirmed or released by police or fire authorities.
DEVELOPING IF CONTENT IS AVAILABLE …”
All readers should be aware that breaking new reports may contain information that is later determined to be false. That’s why CARDINAL NEWS provides the disclaimer at the end of many articles. Minor crashes don’t get the serious attention to details compared to the investigations for serious crashes, when investigations often last four to six hours to gather evidence at a crash scene. Many police agencies provide a short summary of the results of the preliminary investigation in the case of a serious crash or fatality. Next, court proceedings, cvil and/or criminal seek a final decision that makes a ruling based on evidence provided in court. The truth may be refined, or accurate facts may be inadmissible because of a technicality.
Most people understand that initial information in breaking news could be inaccurate. A witness or involved party could be mistaken, or a witness or involved party could be lying for some reason. Metra would probably not post that the car was hit unless some reliable source, such as the conductor or police on the scene, indicated and confirmed the vehicle was hit.
Palatine Police Department did not immediately respond to CARDINAL NEWS questions regarding whether the train actually hit the car, or whether the wheel broke and disabled the car before the train hit the car.
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