HOMETOWN, Ill. (CBS) – Surveillance video shows the moments leading up to a collision between a Metra train and car that left four people seriously injured on Wednesday night in Hometown.
The video shows the gates closing behind the car, striking the trunk. The driver appears to hesitate before moving forward. By then, it was too late, and the train slammed into the vehicle.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Metra train colliding with a car at 87th Street and Pulaski Road last night, leaving four people seriously injured and halting the SouthWest Service Line. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/j6lioMBKHj
— Megan Hickey (@MeganHickeyTV) February 13, 2020
Two people were sent to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition.
Two others listed in “grave” condition were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported Thursday evening, crashes have happened at that intersection before.
In fact, crashes there are so familiar that an attorney representing the families of two people killed in a crash there years ago installed a camera on the side of a business.
He says he knew it would happen again. And then it did.
“Well yeah, I mean, it was bound to happen,” said attorney Ben Crane of the firm Copeland & Crane.
This intersection was the scene of a fatal accident that also involved a Metra train hitting a vehicle in late December 2015. As the late CBS 2 reporter Mike Parker reported at the time, two women died and four others were injured when a Metra train struck their vehicle.
Killed were Juniel Kemp, 20, and Alexis Kemp, 18, both of Chicago, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A 20-year-old man was seriously hurt, and three others in the car — a 17-year-old male, a 17-year-old female and a 3-year-old boy — had non-life-threatening injuries, the rail agency said.
Crane represents the families of the victims of and survivors of that very similar crash.
Just three weeks later, there was another crash right at the same site.
In January 2016, a woman in her 40s was driving a Chrysler Pacifica that was hit by a Metra train. The woman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries afterward.
“I was like, geez, another train accident over here?” a woman said at the time. “It’s just ridiculous.”
Crane’s lawsuit contends there is a design flaw at the crossing and it’s confusing for some drivers. He claims that Metra should have known that “this crossing was a hazard to motorists.”
“This problem of a car getting caught between the gate and the tracks not only was bound to happen again, but it happens very, very frequently,” Crane said.
There was no word Thursday night on any update in the victim’s conditions.
But Crane argues that the latest collision is proof that the safety of the intersection is in question.
CBS 2 has confirmed that Norfolk Southern owns the tracks and then leases them to Metra. We have reached out to both about this most recent collision, but as Thursday evening, there had been no response.