A Westmont man was killed yesterday when his car was struck by a westbound freight train leaving Chicago. The motor vehicle accident occurred at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Cass Avenue and the BNSF Railway tracks located between Burlington Avenue and Quincy Street in Westmont. According to the DuPage County Coroner’s Office, 91 year-old Louis Lome was killed when the train collided with his silver sedan on the tracks. Lome’s car was subsequently dragged down the tracks past the Westmont Metra passenger platform. The circumstances surrounding the accident remain under investigation however several witnesses have reported that Lome may have been attempting to circumvent the railway crossing gates when the accident occurred.
Railway director of public relations Steve Forsberg reports that the westbound freight train was empty after having carried coal to Chicago. The train was allegedly traveling between 35 and 40 mph at the time of the fatal collision. Forsberg claims that the gates and warning signals had been tested and were in working order. The accident caused significant problems for inbound Chicago Metra trains resulting in delays of up to an hour and fifteen minutes.
According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit public education program established to end collisions and deaths at railroad crossings, Illinois ranks fourth among the top 15 states for rail crossing collisions. The non-profit reports that Illinois suffered 151 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in 2007. About half of these collisions occurred while warning signals were flashing or train gates were down.