Metra cab video shows engineer's view of grade crossing failure

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CHICAGO — Newly released video taken from the cab of a Metra commuter train shows the train narrowly missing a vehicle as it passed through a crossing where the gates had not lowered.

It was the second video of a harrowing close call that took place Nov. 9 on the Metra Rock Island Line tracks at 191st Street in Mokena, Ill.

A dramatic dashcam video from a Mokena police car also captured the incident and was widely viewed last month.

Both videos appear to show the same vehicle, a dark SUV, passing through the crossing just a moment before the train.

The new video, taken from a camera in the cab car where the engineer operates the train, was released by Metra in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The squad car video shows the vehicle, a dark SUV, just about to enter the crossing as the fast-moving train also arrives. The driver, Police Officer Peter Stanglewicz, was able to swerve hard left and drove across the raised median as the train passes.

According to Metra, the incident occurred around 8:45 a.m. as Metra train 506 was inbound head to LaSalle Street Station.

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

Metra said a 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, which 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 were instructed to take additional precautions there using visual signals.

The incident first came to light after Stanglewicz posted the video on his personal Facebook page Dec. 21. The video has attracted more than a million 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.”
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