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Loyola Student Electrocuted By Third Rail On Red Line

CTA RED LINE
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Loyola University senior is dead, after falling onto the electrified third rail on the CTA Red Line tracks early Saturday.

John Versnel, 21, of the 6500 block of North Lakewood Avenue, was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston at 1:29 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

He fell onto the tracks at the Loyola Red Line station near campus about 1:20 a.m., police said.

Police said he had been drinking with friends earlier when he exited a train at the station, bumped into a pillar on the platform, and stumbled onto the electrified third rail.

Versnel was not hit by a train, but he did made contact with the electrified third rail, Chicago Transit Authority spokesman Brian Steele said. The incident halted trains for about an hour, requiring riders to take a bus shuttle between the Addison and Howard stations.

Trains resumed normal service about 2:30 a.m., Steele said.

Versnel was a Loyola University senior, according to a statement from the school. The school has informed students of the counseling services available to them, as well.

This is at least the fourth time this year that someone been electrocuted on the third rail on CTA tracks.

On Aug. 7, Jeffrey Knoll, 28, of Frankfort, fell onto the CTA Blue Line tracks at the Forest Park terminal and came in contact with the third rail. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and power was cut off on the line west of Austin Boulevard for hours afterward.

On Aug. 1, a man died after touching the third rail on the Blue Line tracks at California Avenue. Police believe the man, Fabian Cruz, 33, of the city’s Southwest Side, tried to cross the tracks to get to the other the opposite platform, and “he grabbed onto the third rail and that was it.”

And on April 22, Zachary McKee, 27, of Ossian, Ind., was at the South Boulevard Purple Line stop in Evanston, when he decided to climb down onto the tracks to urinate. He came into contact in some way with the third rail and was killed.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.