MORTON GROVE, Ill. — An Amtrak train heading from Milwaukee to Chicago’s Union Station struck a minivan near the Morton Grove Metra station Sunday afternoon, killing the driver.
Passenger Nikki Schalinske said after the train passed the Glenview stop around 12: 30 p.m. Sunday, it was barreling through Morton Grove when it hit a maroon minivan that was crossing the tracks.
“We were starting to pass the Morton Grove Metra station, and I felt a little bit of a jolt,” Schalinske said. “I see this cloud of dust start to rise up from my peripheral. It just looked like when you those trash compactors that squish them down to a cube, it looked like a train had done [that].”
Investigators confirm the man driving the minivan was killed, but he has not been identified. According to Amtrak, none of the 254 passengers and crew on the train were injured. According to Amtrak, about 2,000 people are killed or injured in crossing and trespassing incidents each year in the U.S.
Authorities say a man driving a minivan went around the barrier at the Morton Grove train station and was hit by an @Amtrak train (the Hiawatha line from Milwaukee to Chicago) headed downtown to Union Station. The driver was killed, and police are now investigating. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/BmTCuVmC0m
— Mike Lowe (@MikeLoweReports) July 14, 2019
But the investigation into what caused the crash may be just beginning, as some witnesses and neighbors question whether traffic barriers that keep cars from crossing were working at the time.
After hearing an impact, Effie Primbus says she ran to her balcony overlooking the train tracks, and saw the barriers were not down.
“It’s not down, not down this morning. Not lights. Not red lights,” Primbus said.
Authorities have not commented on whether there was an issue with the barriers at the time.
The crash caused major delays on both Amtrak’s Hiawatha line and on Metra’s Milwaukee District-North line.