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NW Chicago high school student struck and killed by Metra train

There are thousands of intersections throughout Illinois where trains, cars and pedestrians cross paths. Many of the most dangerous train crossings are found here in Chicago and in surrounding suburbs. Accidents at these intersections are often fatal, as a train-crossing pedestrian accident last week proved to be.

Early Friday morning, a 17-year-old student at Taft High School on the Northwest Side was hit by a Metra train as he walked to school. He was rushed to the hospital but died less than one hour after the train-crossing accident.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the student was wearing earphones when the crash occurred, which may have prevented him from hearing the train coming. In the wake of the crash, a Metra spokesman was quick to point out that the crossing gates were active at the time of the accident.

The railroad crossing is just three blocks from the school. Those who live nearby say it is a dangerous area, yet many students must walk across the tracks to get to and from school. At times, cars at the intersection also pose a danger to students. A local resident told the Tribune that “it’s not exactly the safest place. I used to tell my wife, ‘They need to have a crossing guard over here.’”

It is still unclear at this point if the train operator or owner was negligent in any way. But considering this railroad crossing’s proximity to a school, it would seem like a worthwhile and common-sense investment to either assign a crossing guard to the intersection or to enact other safety measures to protect pedestrians.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Teen dies after hit by Metra train near Taft High School,” Mitch Smith, Mar. 7, 2014