On July 24, 2011, a Chicago lawyer was killed when a train struck her vehicle in downstate Illinois. According to authorities, the accident occurred at about 8:30 PM in the town of Buckley, 100 miles south of Chicago. Cheryl Wilson-Segal, age 47, left behind a husband and two children. As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, husband and father of two children, I feel heartsick for the family.
Police reports suggest the train gates were down when Wilson-Segal was struck while driving her 2007 Audi. However, those close to Wilson-Segal indicate crossing train tracks with the gates down would be completely out of character for her. According Carol Hogan, a partner at Wilson-Segal's firm, "she was not a reckless person in any sense of the word." Hogan added, "we can't know what happened until we were in her place. I'd say if this could happen to Cheryl, it could happen to anyone."
A train accident is any crash involving one or more trains. According to the U.S. government, a train collides with a vehicle or pedestrian every 115 minutes. In 2007, the Office of Safety Analysis of the Federal Rail Road Administration found a total of 13,187 railroad accidents that year. Of those accidents, 851 were fatal. Common causes of railroad accidents include unreasonably dangerous crossings, defective signals, inattention or distraction, ignoring signals, excessive speed, and failure to sound the locomotive horn.
Regarding Monday's crash, a relative of the family told the local coroner Wilson-Segal had been on the phone, saying she was lost. Wilson-Segal was on her way to spa for some rest and relaxation. The collision occurred on a rural country road that dead-ended near the train tracks. Until further information is gathered, it is unclear exactly how the collision occurred and who might be at fault.
Chicago Tribune, Highland Park woman identified in fatal train crash downstate, July 27, 2011.
Wikipedia, Train Wreck, July 28, 2011.
Totalinjury.com, July 28, 2011.