CTA Passengers 'Yelling, Screaming' After Collision

Passengers recall frightening experience as questions remain unanswered

By Christian Farr, Regina Waldroup and Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Monday, Sep 30, 2013  |  Updated 5:01 PM CDT
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More than 30 people were injured Monday morning after two trains running on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line tracks collided, CTA officials confirm, but it's still not clear how it happened.
 
 Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/2-Trains-Collide-on-CTAs-Blue-Line-225791591.html#ixzz2gPi3UTCD

More than 30 people were injured Monday morning after two trains running on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line tracks collided, CTA officials confirm, but it's still not clear how it happened. Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/2-Trains-Collide-on-CTAs-Blue-Line-225791591.html#ixzz2gPi3UTCD

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Injured CTA Passengers Speak Out

Some of the passengers injured in Monday morning's CTA train collision describe their ordeal.
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Gary Harrison and Cathy Bowes didn't expect a trip to Chicago would land one of them in the hospital after a train collision.

"Everybody kept saying, 'You better take the train. It's safer that way,'" Bowes said. "It's not."

The Country Club Hills residents were passengers on the CTA Blue Line train that was suddenly struck Monday morning by an out-of-service train at the Harlem station in suburban Forest Park.

"People were just yelling, screaming, just trying to get off," Bowes said. "If was just a hard impact."

The twisted metal on the front of the train shows the force of the impact that Harrison and Bowes said caused almost everyone in their train car to be thrown to the floor.

"My back got tumbled on," she said. "They walked over me after I fell. Everybody was scared."

Harrison jammed his hip and leg in the crash. He was one of 33 passengers taken to area hospitals after the collision. At least 10 people were taken to Rush Oak Park Hospital, but it appears none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Dr. Daniel Noolan said most passengers suffered bruises and sprains. Other patients received X-rays to make sure they didn't sustain fractures.

CTA officials still aren't clear what happened or how the out-of-service train got out of the Forest Park yard. Despite multiple systems designed to prevent runaway trains, this rogue train somehow managed to slip out of the yard and travel the wrong way onto the CTA's Blue Line tracks.

"We really don't know if we can classify it as a runaway train," CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. "Obviously it was moving in a direction it shouldn't have been on a track it should not have been. This is obviously something that should not have occurred."

It's something Taylor Pettiford will never forget. She was waiting for her train on the platform at Harlem Avenue when she heard commotion.

"I heard a man yelling, 'stop, stop the train. Slow down," Pettiford said, describing a chaotic scene. "After that it was smoky and I heard people screaming."

The CTA launched an investigation into how this could have happened. The National Transportation Safety Board also arrived to look over the trains involved.
 
"So the million dollar question is how did this happen?" ATU Local 308 President Robert Kelly said.

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