Elderly Man Fatally Struck By Metra Train

Updated 6:42 a.m. 3/19/11

WILMETTE,Ill. (STMW) — A Metra train fatally struck an elderly Evanston man Friday afternoon in an apparent suicide in north suburban Wilmette.

The pedeUnion Pacific Train No. 335 struck a pedestrian about 4:45 p.m. near the Wilmette station, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.

Witnesses reported that the 76-year-old Evanston resident walked onto the patch of the northbound express train and crouched down on the tracks, according to a Wilmette police release. He was killed instantly when struck by the train.

The man was identified as Richard Thomas, 76, of an unidentified home address, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

A preliminary investigation indicates the death is a suicide, the police release said. An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday, the medical examiner’s office said.

The train left the Ogilvie Transportation Center at 4:13 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Kenosha at 5:39 p.m. The train was stopped after the incident, and didn’t begin moving again until about 6:30 p.m., Reile said.

Other trains were also delayed up to two hours because of the incident, Reile said.

Wilmette and Metra police are investigating.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Fed up

    Trains 345. Stupid pedestrians and suicides 0. Nuff said.

    • kels~

      did you mean 365?

  • Sympathetic

    We just got home from being passengers on this train. My heart goes out to the engineer and crew, as well as the victim, as I can only barely imagine what it is like to be in control of a train that one can see is going to kill someone. It must be incredibly traumatic for them. My thoughts are with them and their families.

  • doomp

    i was on the approaching inbound train, and sat heartbroken over this. my heart goes out as well to the family of those involved as well. to those who were cheering and yelling FINALLY as we got off the train hours later, i literally feel ashamed for you. had i been standing anywhere near you, you would have gotten a quick lesson in humanity….possibly combined with a slap in the face depending on what your response was to my acknowledgement of your soulless disgrace of an existence.

  • lizzie

    Yes, this was a tragedy. To compound this, UPRR knew there would be a substantial impact on the rest of rush hour traffic and yet did not make announcements in Ogilvie station. Instead they herded passengers – some of whom had medical problems, or had urgent personal business to attend to, onto trains which then sat on tracks with no possible exits for passengers in need. The train that I sat on for more than 1 2/3 hours carried people who had “at home” medical emergencies to take care of and who, if given the necessary information, could have taken the el or a cab or made an informed decision about their travel.

    So yes, it was a tragedy. But it didn’t have to impact people who had other important situations to attend to. And that was due to the irresponsible choices of Metra to keep the riding public uninformed.

    • of the human race

      Unless their ‘at home’ emergencied entailed donating an organ or some other life saving issue, they will , and should, get over it. A person died and you complain about a less than two hour delay to your life? This was by no means Metras ‘fault’ that some purposely, or mistakenly got in the way of a train. And to try lo lay the blsme on them in any way sounds like a frivilous lawsuit on the way.

  • Nick

    I was on the train that struck the man and you could just hear the distress in the voice of the train engineer as he was making announcements. They did all they could my prayers go out to the families of both the man and those who tried to prevent this.

  • Mary

    I happened to be driving by Starbucks at around 11:30am this morning. I noticed a man in his 40’s, sandy colored hair, sitting outside the coffee shop with his hands covering his face. I actually paused for moment and thought about going back. I should have gone back. It haunts me tonight that this could be the same guy. May his soul rest in peace.

  • dan

    Mary the “victim” was 76 so not him, maybe your guy was just severely hung over from st. paddy’s day.

    And it is sad but severely selfish on the victims part. Why jump in front of a train? Could have walked a few blocks east and jumped in the lake and ended it quietly and peacefully without affecting hundreds of other people especially a train engineer that was forced to be a participant. They should fine the estate or relatives of people who decide to jump in front of trains, their decision can haunt people that witness events like this forever.

    • Tom

      Who says this was a suicide? This man was 76 yr old, walked with a cane, had unsteady gait, and could have possibly had a heart attack or stroke. No one will ever know. If you knew this man, you would think twice before being so quick to call it a suicide, leaving behind a wife and son, and a grand-daughter.

  • Tina

    An adult of 76 years should know the importance of looking both ways before crossing the tracks. What the hell?

  • George Pickett

    You people remind me of how some people get to the north shore, complete selfish disregard of the rest of humanity for you own comfort. God help you all when you face Him and explain this.

  • Sara

    Some of these coments are disturbing. Regardless of where one lives or the reasons, taking one’s life is a tragedy. It is a failure of humanity. To call this man selfish or the passengers selfish is missing the point.

  • Don

    Sara-suicide in itself is selfish-someone has to find the person and often times clean up the mess-yes obviously for someone to kill themselves is tragic and obviously they are in some sort of duress but to throw yourself in front of a train? How many people kill themselves to get back at someone or because they are angry-is that not selfish? Look at the jerk that ripped off metra and was juggling 2 women besides his wife-what did he do? Did he face the consequences when he was about to get caught? No he cowardly and selfishly killed himself leaving a big mess behind for his wife and others to clean up. I’d say the only non selfish way to kill yourself is to enter a lions cage-he’d be happy and there would be no mess to clean up!

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