The Prospect Heights truck driver who struck and derailed a Metra train last Friday had a record that included a DUI, as well more than 50 other traffic violations. Victims of the serious truck accident are left to wonder how he could still be driving with so many warning signs spanning his driving record since 1986. This latest incident cost the driver his life and sent at least 26 train passengers to the hospital.
Those on the train described the experience as an explosion as the train struck cab of the semi trailer and come off the tracks. There was no warning for the hundreds of passengers on the train, many of whom were headed to work, before the collision at 8:40 a.m. The sound of glass breaking and metal squealing immediately preceded the sign that terrified the passengers the most-flames and rising smoke.
As passengers exited any way they could, through doors and windows alike, the conductors worked to move people away from the damage. The fact that no one on board the train was killed was very fortunate. After the initial collision, the trailer of the truck swung around and struck cars farther back on the train. The damage to the truck and train was catastrophic.
The actions of the truck driver defied explanation. The truck, carrying a load of concrete chunks, turned left through a "No Left Turn" sign. He drove around the lowered hazard gates and ignored the flashing crossing lights. The cab of his truck was on the tracks when the train struck. It is not clear if he ever saw the train that ended his life.
Source: Chicago Breaking News, "Truck driver in fatal Metra collision had dozens of traffic violations," Liam Ford, 13 May 2011