A Metra commuter train struck and killed at least one individual Wednesday night in Joliet, as the engineer described kids appearing to try to outrun the train at the trestle bridge that goes over Hickory Creek in Pilcher Park.
The incident likely occurred about 7 p.m. Wednesday on the Metra Rock Island line bridge, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.
Metra officials were alerted at 7:14 p.m. that train No. 419, which had left the LaSalle Street station at 5:40 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive at 6:52 p.m. in Joliet, had struck two pedestrians, Reile said.
The train engineer told officials he saw three kids standing alongside the track before they began to run in front of the westbound train, like they could outrun it, Reile said.
At that point, it was too late, Reile said. Stay off the tracks. This is completely preventable.
The body of Jacob A. Manka, 17, of Mokena, soon was found. Will County Coroners Office officials pronounced him dead at 8:14 p.m., and an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.
Metra officials believe a second individual might have been knocked off the bridge. Metra, Joliet police and Will County Sheriffs police, and Joliet fire crews searched Wednesday night until bad weather rolled into the area.
Police could be seen again Thursday morning speaking with a man in the area of Highland Park Drive and Route 30.
Firefighters were back at dawn searching Hickory Creek with rescue crews. They staged their equipment at the Ingalls Park A.C. parking lot, located at 20 N. Park Road.
The incident occurred at the trestle bridge over Hickory Creek near Pilcher Park, East Joliet Fire Chief Robert Scholtes said.
About 100 firefighters were involved in the search, mostly water tech teams and divers, Scholtes said.
Weve looked from the trestle bridge all the way to Briggs Street, Scholtes said about 11:30 a.m. Teams would move farther down the creek as the search continued.
The water is shallow but swift moving because of the heavy rains, so diving was not possible, Scholtes said. Water techs trained to work in rough water were in the creek and searching the banks while more help was on the way.
Several fire departments were on the scene, including Joliet, and drones were being used to help in the search.
We are using drones to fly over the Hickory Creek area to try to find the individual, Joliet Fire Chief Joe Formhals said.
A spokesman for Metra, which is heading the search, noted water conditions made the search hazardous.
The creek is flowing very quickly now, so its very dangerous work, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.
Gillis said crews were sweeping several stretches of the creek at once, working their way downstream. He called it an interagency operation.
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – Two people have been killed after being struck by a suburban Chicago commuter train.
One body was recovered Wednesday night. He was identified as Jacob A. Manka of southwest suburban Mokena, the coroner’s office said. A preliminary autopsy found he died from being struck by a train.
On Thursday, emergency personnel from 20 different police and fire departments scoured a 1.5-mile stretch of Hickory Creek for the body of the second victim.
Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile says the search was suspended after the creek's conditions became too dangerous. She said the search would resume once water levels subside.
Authorities say the victims were part of a small group that was trespassing Wednesday evening on tracks over a trestle bridge when the Metra train approached from behind. A third person was not injured.
Reile said the train's engineer told officials "three kids" were standing alongside the tracks and began to run in front of the train. The engineer put the train into emergency stopping mode, but "at that point, it was too late."