Train kills pedestrian in Elgin; incident believed accidental
By Dave Gathman firstname.lastname@example.org July 30, 2012 10:16PM
Updated: September 2, 2012 6:11AM
ELGIN — A pleasant summer evening of fishing along the Fox River ended in tragedy as one of the fishermen was killed by a Metra commuter train Monday night.
The accident occurred at 9:13 p.m. in back of the Reliance Tool Co. building at 617 N. State St., about a block north of Wing Street, according to Metra and Elgin police representatives.
The eastbound train had started its run at the Big Timber Station just three minutes before but probably was going at about 50 mph, according to Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile.
The Kane County Coroner’s Office identified the dead man as Jose Medrano Hernandez, 52, of the 300 block of Franklin Boulevard in Elgin.
Medrano’s companion, a man whose identity was not released, told Metra police that he and Medrano had been fishing on the nearby riverbank. After it got dark, he said, they had walked across the dual tracks on their way to home. The companion said he saw the train, rushed across the last track and shouted back to Medrano to hurry up. But Medrano apparently underestimated how fast the train was approaching them.
Reile said the engineer reported that after he rounded the curve at the Route 31 underpass, he saw the two trespassers, sounded the locomotive’s horn several times and threw the train’s throttle into ”emergency stop” position.
Elgin police said the companion was not struck by the train but became ill afterward. He was taken by ambulance to Provena Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin to be examined.
Many train-vs.-pedestrian fatalities are suicides. But Reile and Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said this one appears to have been a genuine accident.
Reile said the train had only five passengers aboard. She said one train in each direction between Elgin and Chicago was canceled because of the incident, and the next trains in each direction were delayed 40 to 45 minutes, as well as being forced to stop or start at the “Elgin” (Chicago Street) station rather than at Big Timber.