Dashcam captures near-miss at malfunctioning crossing gates

RELATED TOPICS: CHICAGO | SAFETY | METRA
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Video via Facebook

CHICAGO — Dramatic dashcam video captured a near-miss in November between a Metra commuter train and as many as three vehicles at a suburban Chicago crossing where the warning lights and gates had malfunctioned.

The video, taken from a police squad car, shows the vehicle just about to enter the crossing as the fast-moving train also arrives. The driver, identified as Mokena, Ill., Police Officer Peter Stanglewicz, swerves hard left and drove across the raised median as the train passes.

According to Metra, the incident occurred around 8:45 a.m. on Nov. 9, involving Metra train 506 at the crossing at 191st Street at the Metra Rock Island Line tracks. The train was inbound to LaSalle Street Station.

Stanglewicz’s squad car was just a few car lengths behind an SUV, which made it safely through the crossing. Another car could be seen approaching from the opposite direction.

Metra spokesperson Katie Dahlstrom said a Metra signal maintainer happened to be at the site at the time on a separate issue, and the crossing was shut down to trains until the malfunction was investigated and repaired by 3:40 p.m. that day.

The malfunction was traced to an electrical short in a hand throw switch, Dahlstrom said. The switch controlled a nearby siding used by a lumber yard.

Metra said it “aggressively tested” the crossing and reported the incident to the Federal Railroad Administration. As a backup, crews have been instructed to take additional precautions there using visual signals, Dahlstrom said.

The Illinois Commerce Commission website reports no incidents at that grade crossing from 2012 to the last update in 2017.

The incident first came to light after Stanglewicz posted the video on his personal Facebook page Dec. 21. As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had attracted more than 500,000 views.

Stanglewicz posted: “Throughout my life, I've had very little luck. I've bought tons of raffle tickets, from little league tickets to charity raffles. Every lottery ticket was a loser. I just thought I wasn't born with luck at all. Little did I know, I had luck, I was just saving it all up for the perfect time. Here is all my luck being used ALL AT ONCE. If I never win anything again, I'm perfectly fine with that.”

“The village of Mokena is thankful that there were no injuries to Officer Stanglewicz or any other motorists as a result of this unfortunate incident,” according to a statement from the Mokena Polce Department.

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