More than 30 people were injured on March 24 when a Chicago Transit Authority train lost control, jumped the platform, and wedged itself on top of an escalator at O'Hare International Airport.
Fortunately, no one was killed in the accident, which sent two of the commuter train's eight cars careening through the station at one of the station's lowest traffic times. Eyewitness reports indicate that speed might have been a factor in the derailment, which remains under investigation.
As our accident attorneys in Chicago know, train accidents can have disastrous consequences for passengers and workers aboard the train as well as those waiting at the station. Luckily, due to the timing of the crash, traffic was light at the typically busy underground Blue Line station.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the accident occurred at approximately 2:50 a.m. on March 24 at the end of the Blue Line at O'Hare International Airport. Investigators told the Tribune that the train climbed over the last stop, jumped the sidewalk, and climbed the escalator before coming to a stop.
Details emerge about Chicago Blue Line train accident
Investigators said more 50 firefighters and paramedics responded and more than 30 people were injured in the accident, all of whom were passengers on the train at the time. Emergency room doctors at Lutheran Hospital, where seven victims were transported, said injuries to passengers included whiplash, neck pain, knee injuries, and headaches.
The train's operator sustained minor injuries to her leg. CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the operator would undergo drug and alcohol testing as part of standard procedure in investigating the cause of the crash. Steele said CTA officials would look at equipment, signals, and human factors as part of the investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate along with Chicago Transit Authority, the city fire department, and police.
While the accident remains under investigation, according to Steele, preliminary reports indicate that the eight-car commuter train was traveling at a rate of speed that "clearly was higher than a normal train would be" while pulling into the station, suggesting the train operator's negligence or equipment malfunction due to improper maintenance might have been factors.
The Chicago Tribune reported that due to the nature of the accident, removing passengers from the two front cars was a difficult process. According to Chicago Fire Commissioner Joey Santiago, fire crews scrambled to determine if anyone was stuck underneath the train but found no one.
While there were a significant number of injuries reported, the number likely would have been much higher had the accident occurred during one of the station's busier times. During the morning or evening rush hour, the station's platforms typically are packed with commuters.
Chicago train accident lawyers can help after an accident. Call Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 or visit www.coplancrane.com to schedule your free consultation.
Photos from the Chicago Tribune