Woman Dead, Kids Hurt When Metra Rock Island Train Hits Van
UPDATED: 10/16/2012 – 3:49 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman was killed and two children injured after a Metra train hit a vehicle on the South Side.
According to Metra, the preliminary report states that witnesses told officials that the driver went around gates that were down.
The train then hit the vehicle. According to the Fire Department, the driver — identified by relatives as 26-year-old Tristian Hicks Williams — was dead at the scene. A bystander pulled two children out of the minivan, and the boys — two brothers, Jayvon, 4; and JonKing, 5 — were transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller Reports
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports Jayvon suffered bumps cuts and bruises, while JonKing, who turns 6 on Wednesday, was in surgery for two broken legs.
Perry Logan was taking his daughter to school when he saw Williams’ car go around the crossing gate, and saw the impact.
“One of the little boys was already crawling out of the back window, so I helped him out of the car and then he jumped back in to try and help out his brother .. and then I noticed the brother’s leg was broken,” Logan told WBBM Newsradio.
Logan said he didn’t have time to think, he just reacted.
“I have little kids of my own; I had to go do it.”
Logan said he tried to help the boys’ mother but could not.
Williams’ sister, Taja Hicks, said she didn’t know why her sister would drive around the warning gates.
“I guess maybe she was late taking them to school. I don’t know why, Lord, why she went around the gate,” she said.
It’s the question that can’t be answered after the deadly crash.
Just before the crash, there was one car between Williams’ van and the railroad crossing. She tried to beat the train by going around the gates, but lost.
Eyewitness Leonard Grady said, “It actually kind of swerved out, made a decision, then accelerated. And before the acceleration had gotten to its peak, the train had already hit it.”
The impact, said one witness, “sounded like a Volkswagen falling from the Sears Tower.”
Hicks issued a plea and warning for other drivers.
“Do not ignore the safety signals. Don’t go around any gate, run any light, because your life depends on it,” she said.
Train No. 302 was traveling into the city when it hit a Williams’ vehicle at 115th Street and Vincennes on the Rock Island Line around 8:10 a.m.
After an hour delay, the Rock Island Line train resumed service about 9:25 a.m. The train had departed from Blue Island at 8:10 a.m. and was originally scheduled to arrive at 8:41 a.m. at the LaSalle Street station.