News & Reviews News Wire NTSB releases preliminary report on collision that killed Metra passenger

NTSB releases preliminary report on collision that killed Metra passenger

By Trains Staff | June 16, 2022

| Last updated on February 26, 2024

Cause, safety recommendations of May accident to be set in final report

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Stainless steel bilevel passenger car with part of side torn open
A Metra gallery car shows damage from the collision that killed a passenger. National Transportation Safety Board

CLARENDON HILLS, Ill. — A truck struck by a Metra commuter train was rotated by the impact, causing substantial damage to the train’s cab car and resulting in the death of a passenger, according to a preliminary report issued Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The preliminary report sets out basic facts of the accident, which occurred May 11, 2022, on the Metra BNSF line in Clarendon Hills, about 17 miles from downtown Chicago. It does not determine probable cause or offer safety recommendations. A full report with those facets will take about 18 months to complete; the NTSB says “all aspects of the crash remain under investigation.”

The 72-year-old woman killed in the crash, ejected through a window, was the first Metra passenger killed in an accident since 2005; two other passengers and two Metra employees were injured [see “Chicago’s Metra passenger killed …,” Trains News Wire, May 12, 2022].

The report says the truck was stopped on the South Prospect Avenue grade crossing when the crossing gates activated for the approaching train, with the northbound gate striking the north-facing truck. The three occupants of the truck exited the vehicle before the collision. The train struck the truck, which rotated and struck the right side of the cab car below the windows, with gouging damage to the exterior that also pushed material into the seating area.

8 thoughts on “NTSB releases preliminary report on collision that killed Metra passenger

  1. I second James comment. How many times do vehicles stop on the tracks KNOWING they can’t clear the crossing.

  2. Illinois is very clear. Motor vehicles are not supposed to enter a grade crossing until or unless they can clear the crossing on the other side. The driver never had any business stopping ON the crossing.

  3. Bruce, If everyone is doing their job, train stop is possible.

    A boiler tank 60′ long (2 in fact) tried to go backroads route of transit. 1st okay. 2nd high centered on grade crossing. Immediately RR was called.

    I talked to the crew. They had green signal (expedite train). They saw the tank long before striking it. Thinking it was simply on it’s way across the RR they continued on.

    AFTER they collided, they got a call from dispatch to be on the ook out for obstructed track ahead. It was a mess, and bad ordered the engineer. Strange, 1st unit did not derail but 2nd off the rail on it’s side. Merchandise …TOFC all over the ROWendmrw0616221142

  4. Everyone who operates a motor vehicle needs to know that virtually every railroad crossing has an emergency phone number posted on the back of the crossbuck sign or on the side of the relay box for signals and/or gates (if any). If your vehicle gets stuck, call the number.
    Trains CAN stop, if you phone to give them enough warning!

  5. Speaking of the NTSB, whatever happened to the investigation of the Amtrak derailment in western Montana a year ago?
    Seems to have been forgotten.

  6. Was the truck on the tracks because it got stuck before the warning signals began or did the driver know the train was coming and tried to beat the gates? If the truck got stuck before warning, what was the cause and is it something the driver should have known (or did know?) about?

    1. According to video taken by an motorist at the scene, which included the actual moment of collision, there was nothing blocking the truck from pulling forward off the crossing. I ride this line frequently, grew up just a few towns over. There is a cross-street intersecting the road that crosses the railroad, and they have stop signs; traffic crossing the tracks does not.

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