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Saturday, February 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Woman killed, 6 others hurt when Chicago-area commuter train hits car

SKOKIE, Ill. – A woman was killed and another person injured Monday morning after a car they were in collided with a southbound Chicago Transit Authority Yellow Line train at a grade crossing in Skokie, also injuring five passengers on the train, according to Skokie police.

Service on the Yellow Line was suspended Monday morning following the crash at East Prairie Road, and drivers were being asked to avoid the road, with closures in effect from Oakton to Howard streets, according to Eric Swaback, of the Skokie Police Department.

The car was heading south on East Prairie when it was hit by a train heading east on the Yellow Line about 10:20 a.m. CDT, police said. Five ambulances responded.

In addition to the woman killed, the other person from the car was taken to Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, and five passengers from the train were taken to area hospitals for treatment, according to police.

Several blocks both north and south of the crash scene on East Prairie Road were closed off well into Monday afternoon. Yellow tape surrounded the site of the crash.

Dozens of personnel from the Skokie Police Department, the CTA and the Major Crash Assistance Team from the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force (NORTAF) were on hand to investigate.

The demolished red car was moved to the side of the tracks.

Skokie Village Trustee Ilonka Ulrich, who was home from work because of a death in her family, lives around the corner from the crash location. Her backyard faces the tracks.

“I just took a shower and was looking out the back window,” she said. “I heard this loud explosion or a bang. I then see the train just stopped there.”

Ulrich’s first thought, she said, was that the train hit something on the tracks before the intersection. She said she could hear the sound of a railroad crossing although she could not tell whether the gates were down.

“I saw smoke coming out of the bottom of the train that was just sitting there,” she said. “I came out with my dogs and then I heard from the train, ‘ladies and gentleman, there has been a derailment. Call your employers. You’re going to be here for awhile.”

At that point, Ulrich said, she walked to the alley and looked at the wrecked car for herself.

“I knew there had to be a fatality,” she said. “It just shows you how tenuous life is. It shows you to appreciate the people in your life.”

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