CHICAGO (CBS) — Thirty-eight people were injured, and 23 of them were taken to hospital, when a CTA Yellow Line train struck a piece of snow removal equipment on the tracks at the CTA station. Howard Yard at Rogers Park.
The accident occurred shortly after 10:30 a.m. as the train was passing through the rail yard near the Howard Street Terminal, above Howard and Paulina streets, according to Chicago Transit Authority officials. The Yellow Line-Skokie Swift two-car train was heading toward Skokie when it struck a piece of snow removal equipment.
Fire officials said there were 31 passengers and seven CTA employees on the train. All were injured and, at one point, more than 15 ambulances were called to the scene to treat the injured.
“Our hearts go out to everyone involved and we are grateful to our brave first responders on the scene,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement. “We are working closely with emergency services as we continue to monitor this incident.”
The train struck the rear of a snowplow locomotive, which is used to clear snow from CTA tracks during the winter, Chicago Fire District Chief Robert Jurewicz said.
The CTA did not explain why the machine shared the same track. When asked about this, Jurewicz said it was “a question for the CTA.”
Chicago fire officials said a total of 23 of those 38 people were taken to hospitals, including four children and seven CTA employees, and 15 others on the train refused treatment. medical. Three people were hospitalized in serious to critical condition, nine were hospitalized in moderate to serious condition and 11 were hospitalized in good condition.
CFD Deputy Chief Keith Gray said none of the injuries were life-threatening. Most people suffered cuts, bumps and bruises, with some head injuries.
The victims ranged in age from approximately 2 to 72 years old. A total of four young children were taken to hospital to be examined.
A person using the snow plow was also seriously injured, firefighters said.
“We made sure all the passengers got off the train,” Jurewicz said.
Getting the passengers off the train was not easy. Several were carried away on stretchers.
“I will tell you it was a very difficult thing for the firefighters to do, because they had to go up and down these embankments – carrying people over the rocks,” Jurewicz said.
First responders had to go through an access gate, cross a few access roads, climb over a berm, and descend under an embankment – and they still had to make sure the high-voltage lines were turned off, CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reported.
Some passengers were carried on stretchers – off the train which never arrived at its destination.
“We took them all out. The guys did a great job,” Jurewicz said. “I tell you, they really did it.”
Dr. David Trotter, chief of emergency management at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, said three patients were taken to that hospital. Two of the crash victims were in fair condition and one was in serious condition.
Some patients were also transported to Ascension St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, near the crash site.
At Masonic, Trotter said patients suffered the type of injuries expected in a high-speed collision.
“Any time you have a high-speed collision, you’re going to have impact injuries – which is normal in this case,” said Dr. David Trotter, chief of emergency management at the Illinois Masonic Advocate. Medical Center. “You definitely have lacerations, bruises, things of that nature – and sometimes, obviously, they can be more serious than that.”
It was unclear Thursday how fast the train was traveling at the time of the collision. But anyone who drives the “L” knows that there are no seat belts and that people often stand, holding on to the handrails.
So, when the impact occurred, it can be said that some people were thrown suddenly.
Dr. Trotter spoke about Advocate Illinois Masonic’s unified plan to ensure treatment for all victims.
“We’re just very fortunate to have fantastic first responders. They’re the ones who are actually on scene, able to transport patients and get them here. But communication is key,” Trotter said, “and so during This hectic time, they are still able to communicate with different hospitals. We also provide care coordination, to ensure that all patients arrive at the hospital and have the best resources to treat them as quickly as possible. time desired.”
On Thursday evening, we learned that one of the crash victims, Cleon Hawkins of Chicago, had filed a lawsuit. His lawyer said what happened Thursday was “an example of a catastrophic failure by the CTA to make commuter transportation safe for its passengers who depend on it,” and continued: “In this day and age, some Something like this should never happen. “.
Service on the Yellow and Purple lines was suspended following the collision. Red Line service was suspended between Howard and Thorndale after the collision, but began operating again around 12:45 p.m. Purple Line service has also since resumed.
But Yellow Line service remained unavailable for the rest of the day and night, and was still unavailable later Thursday evening. Yellow Line passengers were advised to use the Skokie No. 97 bus and as an alternative.
Chicago Avenue – not Chicago’s east-west thoroughfare, but Evanston’s extension of Clark Street in Chicago – was closed between South Boulevard and Howard Street in Evanston following the crash. The Evanston Fire Department said the CTA cut off power to the Red and Purple lines.
After the CTA cut power to the Purple Line, a train got stuck between stops in Evanston and firefighters were able to safely evacuate passengers from that train.
The Yellow Line is the only CTA train line that does not serve downtown Chicago. It extends between the Dempster-Skokie Terminal on Dempster Street, two blocks west of Skokie Boulevard (Cicero Avenue) in Skokie, and the Howard Terminal in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. From Dodge Avenue (California Avenue) eastward, the line passes in an underground trench parallel to Evanston’s Mulford and Case streets before passing through the Howard Rail rail yard, then ascends to complete its journey at the Howard elevated terminal.
The collision occurred just at the point where Yellow Line trains enter the yard from the north and west on their route, exiting the trench below ground level and entering a potentially dangerous curve , according to Joe, a transportation expert and professor at DePaul University. Schwietermann.
Habermehl reported that the impact of the accident caused the front axle of the Yellow Line train to derail. The snow removal unit also suffered some damage to the rear.
Schwieterman said several factors were in place, at least partially. He added that a piece of snow removal equipment is generally not expected to remain on the tracks during the day – since the Skokie Swift is not operational 24 hours a day, these car movements are usually do it at night.
Questions were also asked as to why the driver of the vehicle did not stop in front of the snow removal vehicle and whether he was unresponsive. There were recordings suggesting that radio calls had been made and there had been no response, Schwieterman said.
“Multiple things happened here that led to a truly devastating outcome,” Schwieterman said.
The maximum speed on the Yellow Line is 55 mph, and train operators typically slow down to about 25 mph upon arriving at Howard Terminal, Schwieterman said.
“It’s the worst case around this curve — not enough time to stop,” Schwieterman said. “And generally, simple visual cues are enough to stop an ‘L’ train, but not today.”
The National Transportation Safety Board announced that it had sent a team to the site.
The damaged train and snow plow remained at the scene late in the afternoon, and the Yellow Line remained closed. Both units will remain in place until authorized by the NTSB.
In an unrelated incident that occurred just over three hours after the train crash,near the Howard Red Line terminal. At 1:51 p.m., a man got into an argument with another person that became physical in the 1600 block of West Howard Street, and the second person shot and killed the man in the torso.