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Fatality occurs on Southwest Metra Line

A 22-year-old man died at the scene of a train accident in Oak Lawn on Thursday, Sept. 1, the Oak Lawn Fire Chief reported.

Reports indicate that the man was hit by outbound Metra train #829 at approximately 6:20 p.m., after leaving downtown Chicago about 5:40 p.m. The fatal Metra accident occurred close to the Oak Lawn Metra station by 51st Avenue and 95th Street. Fire personnel reported that a man was pinned beneath the train.

All passengers on #829 were transferred to another train for the rest of the route to its last stop in Manhattan. The accident caused considerable delays of about 40 minutes on the Southwest Line in both directions.

The fire chief said that at the last moment, the train conductor spotted the pedestrian on the train tracks. The train tried to stop before the impact but couldn't.

In the immediate aftermath of a fatal mass transit accident involving a train, the sequence of events that led up to the collision may not be clear at first. Sometimes the local authorities handle the investigation, but depending upon the seriousness of the incident and the circumstances, federal agencies may take over.

However, there are specific protocols in place when accidents involve Metra trains and railroads. Dispatchers are notified immediately as soon as there is an incident. They then notify the control center, where officials contact first responders at the municipality having jurisdiction over the accident scene.

However, with the proliferation of cellphones, passengers and passersby now may actually reach the responding police officers first. Either way, the first responders secure the scene and get statements from witnesses and the crew on the train. Because there is a special Metra police force, those officers head for the scene. One agency will lead the investigation.

People who suffered injuries, or the survivors of those who were killed in the collision, may decide to pursue civil litigation in order to be compensated for their injuries and other losses. Those initial investigation notes can become crucial during the discovery phase of the legal proceedings.

Source: Oak Lawn Patch, "Pedestrian Struck by Metra Train in Oak Lawn Dies: UPDATE," Lorraine Swanson, Sep. 02, 2016

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