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Dispatcher Stops Train, Saves Pregnant Woman

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Freight Train Passing A Grade Crossing.  (Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Freight Train Passing A Grade Crossing. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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LAKE VILLA, Ill. (STMW) – A Canadian National freight train stopped just 10 seconds, or 40 yards, short of a hitting a stranded vehicle Sunday evening.

“They were very lucky,” Lake Villa Police Chief Ron Roth said of the Zion couple who became confused in the construction area just north of Grass Lake Road east of Route 83 and ended up driving on the tracks. The woman was seven months pregnant.

Police received the call from the couple at 7:41 p.m. saying they were stuck on the Canadian National tracks 50 feet north of Grass Lake Road.

Before officers got to the scene, Antioch police dispatchers, who dispatch calls for Lake Villa, had called the railroad company’s dispatch to alert them to the problem and have them stop any trains in the area.

Canadian National dispatchers learned there was a northbound train of 70 cars about a half mile south of the vehicle. They were able to stop the train with 40 yards to spare.

“If it had been 10 seconds later, it would have been a whole different story,” Roth said.

He praised the dispatchers for their quick work. “It was excellent work,” he said.

The dispatchers were Tia Chinn and Kim Winandy, said Antioch Chief Craig Somerville.

“We’re very proud of our dispatchers. So many times they are unsung heros,” he said.

Roth said this was the second time in the past month and a half that someone got confused in that construction area. “But that was a DUI who went south on the tracks,” Roth said.

The woman in Sunday’s incident was taken to a hospital for a precautionary check up, Roth said.

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