(Franklin Park, Illinois – February 6, 2014)
A Melrose Park, IL woman, crossing Northern Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation railroad tracks via a pedestrian crossing designated as such but having no protective devices, and intending to board a Metra passenger commuter train on the Milwaukee District West Line at the Franklin Park, IL Metra station, was struck and killed by a Metra express train at 40 mph Thursday morning.
Florence Perez, 44, was walking from the east side of the 25th Avenue station platform to the west side when the westbound express train, which does not stop at Franklin Park, struck and killed her. The ground-level pedestrian crossing she was using to cross the tracks has no lights, bells or gates to keep passengers from crossing when non-stop trains come through, rather being equipped only by a yellow sign, placed high and not aimed for passengers walking parallel to the tracks along the platform, that advises commuters to “Look for trains”.
Franklin Park Chief of Police Mike Witz said that the victim got too close to the rail while walking on the platform. “She misjudged it,” he surmised.
Metra Spokesman Tom Miller said the tragedy occurred at 7:57 A.M., and that trains were running again through the death scene in less than an hour.
One unidentified Metra passenger observed that “It would be safer crossing the tracks if there were bells or a crossing gate. There are a lot of trains that run along this line.”
The man’s estimation is quite correct, as, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, 78 Metra trains travel that rail corridor daily, as do an additional two dozen freight trains of four other railroads.