Minutes before a Metra train struck a car in Western Springs on Monday afternoon, residents Ed Suarez and Monica DeNaut pulled an 80-year-old woman from it.
Suarez said he watched as the woman turned onto the tracks in her Buick sedan. He could see the light of an approaching train.
“I’m saying out loud in my car, ‘You’re not doing that, this is not happening,'” Suarez recalled Tuesday.
Western Springs police Sgt. John Piest said the woman’s car got stuck on the tracks after she turned east onto them while driving south on Wolf Road about 5:17 p.m.
Suarez said he pulled over and ran to the car, which was still moving toward the train. He threw rocks at her car until the driver stopped. When the woman told him she could not walk without her walker, he helped her out of the car.
DeNaut, who had just picked up her toddlers from day care, said she called 911, then ran to Suarez and helped him pull the driver to safety.
“It was something I just had to do,” DeNaut said. “It all happened so fast, I could see that train coming.”
Scared of what her kids might see if the train hit the car, DeNaut left just as the ambulance pulled up.
A Metra train on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line hit the car about 5:20 p.m.
Suarez said when Western Springs police officers arrived, they stood between the car and the woman to make sure she wouldn’t be hit by any debris. Piest said he called Metra to try to stop the train, but it still hit the driver’s-side door of the car.
Piest said the woman was taken to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure, then released.
Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said the accident delayed trains up to 90 minutes Monday evening.
Suarez said he simply happened to be at the right place at the right time.
“I think she was confused,” Suarez said of the woman he helped. “It was rainy and dark, and she just didn’t make the complete cross.”
Source: Chicago Tribune