A minivan that sources said went around downed crossing gates Tuesday morning in south suburban Robbins was struck by a Rock Island Line Metra train, critically injuring a man behind the wheel of the minivan.
Metra spokesman Tom Miller said outbound Train No. 509, scheduled to arrive in Joliet at 11:51 a.m., hit a van at 139th Street in Robbins about 11:20 a.m.
A man approximately in his 40s was critically injured and trapped inside the minivan when the train, carrying about 30 passengers, hit him, said Robbins Fire Dept. Chief Donald Rush.
According to a source, the driver of the van went around lowered crossing gates but Rush could not confirm that.
Rush said it appeared the motorist was trying to go westbound on 139th Street when the crash happened.
Crews responded at 11:20 a.m., extricated him from the minivan, and took him to Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island in critical condition with internal injuries, Rush said.
The smashed minivan, stuck on the tracks, had to be hoisted away by a large forklift brought in by Metra.
Rush did not know why the motorist was on the tracks at that crossing, which is equipped with gates and bells, and is about 500 feet from the Robbins station.
"All the signals were intact and working,'' Rush said.
Firefighters left the scene about 12:20 p.m. and Rush said no one else was in the minivan.
As of 12:25 p.m. the train was on the move again after being delayed about an hour, Miller said.
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