Oak Lawn man dies when his SUV is struck by Metra train

  • Written by Joe Boyle

A man was killed when the SUV he was driving was struck by a Metra train Monday morning in Oak Lawn, according to the Oak Lawn police and fire departments that arrived on the scene.

The crash occurred at about 7:40 a.m. at 97th and Central Avenue, according to Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the man as Arthur Hornsby, of the 9200 block of Massasoit Avenue in Oak Lawn.

According to witnesses at the scene, the driver of the Honda Pilot drove around the warning gates at the railroad crossing. The Metra spokesperson said that the bells and lights at the railroad crossing were operating.

An Oak Lawn Fire Department ambulance team happened to be dropping off equipment at the nearby public works building when they heard the collision. Sheets said the driver had to be taken out of the vehicle and was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where a Metra spokesperson said he was pronounced dead at 8:09 a.m.

"We're not sure how the car hit the train or the train hit the car," Sheets said.

Sheets said no one else was in the vehicle. The fire chief said that three people on the train were also taken to the hospital. However, none of them had any major injuries, said Sheets.

The fire chief said that were about 600 passengers on the train. Riders indicated they heard a large boom and felt the train brake suddenly.

The crash created delays for the Metra Southwest Service line. Investigators temporarily halted service in both directions. Trains were moving with delays at about 9:30 a.m. Central Avenue was shut down after the crash but reopened later that morning, said Sheets.