(Chicago, Illinois – March 24, 2014)
A total of 32 injured passengers were taken for treatment to one of four Chicago, IL hospitals after the eight-car Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) commuter train they were aboard plowed past the end-of-track bumping post, derailing at least two cars and climbing a pedestrian escalator, early Monday morning at about 2:50 A.M., at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport CTA station.
Chicago Fire Commissioner Joe Santiago said that more than 50 paramedics and firefighters responded to the scene to treat and transport the injured as well as check the derailed, wrecked rail cars for any passengers who might have been trapped in the accident.
The accident happened during one of the lightest periods of traffic on the CTA’s “Blue Line”, a factor that, fortunately, kept casualties at a minimum. The injured, who ranged in conditions of injured status from fair to good to stable condition upon arrival at either Park Ridge, Advocate General Lutheran, Swedish Covenant or Our Lady of the Resurrection hospitals and medical centers, included the train’s female operator, who received minor injuries to her leg and was walking and talking following the incident. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly, whose organization represents CTA train operators, said that she would be undergoing standard post-accident drug and alcohol tests as well as receiving treatment for her injuries.
“We will be looking at everything – equipment, signals, the human factor, any extenuating circumstances,” explained CTA Spokesman Brian Steele, who told The Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Tribune that the train was “apparently traveling at a higher rate of speed than a train should be” as it pulled into the station.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced that it will be conducting an investigation into the accident.