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Commuter train crash injures 16

Associated Press
Published November 24, 2005

ELMWOOD PARK, Ill. - A commuter train slammed into several vehicles caught in a traffic jam on a busy road Wednesday evening, starting a chain reaction that damaged more than a dozen cars and injured at least 16 people, authorities said.

Two people were in critical condition, Elmwood Park Fire Chief Michael Marino said. No one on the train was injured.

Cars were strewn about the area and other drivers were helping rescue people trapped inside as emergency crews arrived about 5 p.m. Two people had to be extricated from their vehicles, including a woman whose car caught fire after she was out, Marino said.

The rail crossing where the accident happened cuts through a busy diagonal intersection, and a street sign beside the tracks reads: "Long crossing. Do not stop on the tracks."

Wednesday evening, cars were backed up on the road, and the traffic was stop-and-go when the express train headed from Chicago to Antioch came through.

Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said it appeared that crossing gates were working properly when the train went through the intersection, though witnesses gave conflicting reports.

[Last modified November 24, 2005, 00:19:08]

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