Local Police Reports

Driver in Serious Condition After Train Strikes Car at Western Ave.


Not much is left of this 2003 Nissan Ultima after a Canadian National train struck it at the Western Avenue tracks Saturday. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Update 7-11-09 10:55 p.m. with more on the driver’s condition

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Police say a Park Forest man is lucky to be alive today after his car was struck by a train while crossing the Canadian National tracks at Western Avenue around 1:05 p.m. Saturday. The vehicle the man was driving, a 2003 Nissan Ultima, was totaled in the crash.

The driver, a 78-year-old Park Forest resident, escaped without visible injuries but was still taken to St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields by Park Forest Fire Department personnel, according to police at the scene of the accident. He was later transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. A hospital spokesperson confirmed the man was in the Emergency Room in serious condition, with more tests pending.

Police say the engineer on the train told them he believes the gates were down. However, the driver of the car that was struck and three other witnesses told police the lights to the gate had just started flashing and the gates had just started to move when the train came through. Police say the skid marks from the automobile are directly beneath where the gate would be if it had been closed. If the gates had been down, one official at the scene said, the car would have struck and damaged the gates.


The two-car train that struck the Nissan leaves the scene of the accident. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

“I gave [the driver] $10 and told him to buy a lottery ticket because apparently he’s the luckiest person alive,” said one officer who asked not to be identified.

Canadian National had workers at the scene examining the gates. Park Forest Police kept Western Avenue closed until Canadian National had tested the gates and verified they were working properly.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by Park Forest Police and representatives from the Canadian National Railroad.

Update: 78-year-old Man in Train/Car Crash Released from Hospital