Updated: 11/18/10 3:38 p.m.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (STMW) – An Arlington Heights man was critically injured Thursday morning when a freight train struck him as he crossed the tracks near a commuter rail station in the northwest suburb.
A Union Pacific freight train struck the pedestrian at 45 W. Northwest Hwy. in Arlington Heights, Metra spokesman Tom Miller said. The address is located alongside the Arlington Heights Metra station, maps show.
About 10:47 a.m., an eastbound commuter train had just left the downtown station headed toward Chicago and the man began to cross even though the gates were still down and warning signals were still flashing, Arlington Heights Police Capt. Nick Pecora said, citing preliminary information.
The man apparently thought it was safe to cross since the commuter train had passed, and was struck by a single westbound freight engine that witnesses say he didn’t see coming, Pecora said.
Witnesses said the man, a 24-year-old who lives about a block away from the the station, had a cup of coffee in his hand and was wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up, Pecora said. He couldn’t immediately say if the hood blocked the man’s vision or were he was headed. However, he was not a passenger on the Metra train that had just stopped at the station, Pecora said said.
The man is in critical condition at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge with injuries to his upper torso and pelvis, Pecora said.
A funeral procession for fallen soldier and Arlington Heights native Marine Lance Cpl. James Stack was taking place a couple of blocks away at the same time, but was not in any way related to the freight train incident, Pecora said.
No Metra trains were involved in the incident, but two commuter trains in the area were delayed as emergency crews responded.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)