Photo by Dermot Connolly
Passengers begin to walk away from the Metra train they were riding on last Thursday night after they were delayed from departing after a man was hit and killed.
A Metra Southwest train coming from downtown last Thursday evening struck and killed a 22-year-old man in Oak Lawn, about a block from the village Metra station.
The man is believed to have been an Oak Lawn resident, but very little information has been made publicly available since then. Some local residents have said the man who was struck lived in Oak Lawn. His death may have been a suicide, but that has not been confirmed.
Oak Lawn Fire and Rescue Chief George Sheets reported at the time that fire department personnel responded at 6:20 p.m. to a train/pedestrian accident near the intersection of 95th and 51st Avenue. He said that “On arrival, fire department personnel found that an unidentified individual had been struck by the train. The train was stopped just north of 95th Street, within sight of the Oak Lawn station on the other side of 95th Street.
“It is unfortunate. The unidentified individual was pronounced dead at the scene,” said Sheets.
For more than an hour after the incident, Oak Lawn police blocked 95th Street between Cicero and 52nd Avenue while the investigation was underway. Train passengers planning to get off in Oak Lawn, mostly commuters coming home after work, were also kept on board for about 45 minutes.
Trains on the Southwest Line resumed service at about 7:45 p.m.
Oak Lawn residents Mike and Meg O’Connor were among the passengers who had to wait until given permission to disembark. “We didn’t feel any impact. We didn’t know why the train stopped until an announcement was made,” said Mike O’Connor.
He said that for the most part, passengers remained calm while the train was delayed. No one on the train reported being injured.
“The only evidence I saw of the collision was a gym shoe lying beside the tracks. I thought it might have been a young person who died,” said O’Connor.
“One woman became emotional when she overheard another person giving a running commentary about the situation to someone she was talking to on her phone,” O’Connor added. “She told her to stop, and reminded her that somebody just lost their life.”
As soon as passengers were allowed off the train in Oak Lawn, they streamed across 95th Street heading toward the station, many in stunned silence. The platform was crowded with people either waiting to get on the train, or using it as a vantage point to see what the commotion was.
This was the second fatal collision with a Metra train in less than a month. On Aug. 8, Arthur Hornsby, 59, was killed, when his SUV was struck by a train at the crossing on Central Avenue at 99th Street.
Two Chicago women, ages 18 and 20, were also killed at the Metra crossing at 87th Street and Pulaski Road in nearby Hometown on Dec. 28, 2015. In that case, four people in the car with them were injured.