A 20-year-old Elgin man has been issued a handful of traffic citations after he, his pregnant wife and two of their children were injured when their car collided with a Metra train in the northwest suburb Saturday night.
The accident happened about 9:45 p.m. at the Raymond Street crossing in Elgin. Pedro Bustamante, 20, his 19-year-old wife, their 5-year-old son and 14-month-old daughter, were all injured in the crash.
The little girl was flown by helicopter to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said Sunday afternoon that her condition had stabilized and she was expected to recover. The others were taken to Sherman and Provena Saint Joseph hospitals in Elgin. Bustamante’s wife is pregnant and she was being held at the hospital for observation, Theriault said.
Bustamante, who was treated and released from the hospital with minor injuries, was cited with not having a valid driver’s license, consumption of alcohol by a minor, driving too fast for conditions, and operating an uninsured vehicle that caused bodily harm, Theriault said. All the citations are traffic-related misdemeanors.
Metra spokesman Tom Miller said the incident involved Train No. 2721, scheduled to arrive at the Chicago Street station in Elgin at 9:53 p.m. Both it and inbound Train 2724, scheduled to leave from Chicago Street at 10:10 p.m., were held in place for about two hours while the crash was being investigated.
As the first post-crash train -- a westbound run from Chicago -- crawled past the scene at 12:03 a.m., several dozen passengers pressed their faces against its windows to see what had held up their journey. What they saw under the intense glare from fire department light towers was a dark blue 1997 Lincoln Continental with its entire engine-area torn off and the entire windshield spider-webbed with fracture marks; the car’s engine, lying in the street about 20 feet away; and the car’s transmission, lying in the street about 10 feet away from the engine.
Nearby, the bottom half of a child’s car seat also sat on the pavement.
Theriault said the Lincoln apparently was southbound along Raymond Street when, for undetermined reasons, it went off the road. He said the car struck a guardrail protecting the crossing’s aluminum control box, then careened onto the tracks and collided with the train. It was unclear whether the locomotive struck the car or the car struck the side of the passing train.
The train’s momentum kept it moving for several hundred more feet, almost as far north as Metra’s bridge across the Fox River. Theriault said that when the crossing gates went back up, an oncoming (northbound) driver on Raymond drove over the tracks without noticing the wrecked Lincoln on the other side of the crossing and was unable to stop his vehicle in time to avoid striking the wreckage. However, that driver was not injured and his car suffered only minor damage.
A second accident happened soon after when a car traveling north on Raymond Street struck the Lincoln, Elgin Fire Battalion Chief Bryan McMahan said. The couple and their children had already been transported when the second crash occurred and no one in the second car was injured.
“I think the weather and the darkness contributed to the second accident,” McMahan said.