Updated 07/21/11 – 5:52 p.m.
TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — Two elderly women died when they drove in front of a Metra Rock Island District train in an unincorporated area between Tinley Park and Oak Forest.
Oak Forest Mayor Frank Kuspa told WBBM Newsradio 780 that two people died when the train struck a vehicle at the crossing at 167th Street and Central Avenue at about 4 p.m.
The lead car of the train dragged the vehicle along the tracks and the impact of the collision caused the lead car to go off the tracks.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the two victims were women in their 80s.
Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said the train would have been traveling about 60 mph as it approached the street-level crossing at 167th Street.
“The lights just went off, and the train just started shaking,” passenger Noelle Cislo, describing the collision, told CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “All I could think was, ‘Please don’t tip over.’ My heart was probably going like 200 miles an hour.”
The train, Rock Island train #420, was due to arrive in Chicago at 4:33 p.m. Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said the seven-car train had 89 passengers. All of the passengers were taken off the train and cooling buses were provided at the scene.
The crash also caused damage to the tracks, which would need to be repaired before it can be used again.
Both inbound and outbound trains were being stopped at Oak Forest after the crash, but as of 5:26 p.m., police and fire officials had given permission for trains to operate again on the second set of tracks.
Although outbound trains were running again, there were significant delays for at least two trains. Inbound trains were still stopped while crews repaired damage to the track and got the train involved in the crash back on the tracks.
An investigation continued.
Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire