Girl hit, killed by freight train

Three-year-old struck while trying to cross tracks

By Ashok Selvam | Daily Herald Staff

Published: 6/1/2008 12:08 AM

A sunny Saturday afternoon playing outside turned deadly after police say a West Chicago freight train fatally struck a 3-year-old girl who was trying to race across the tracks following two other children.

The toddler -- later identified by the DuPage County coroner's office as Adrianna Victoria-Chew, of the 300 block of West Blair Street in West Chicago -- was the youngest of the three children who were playing at a field east of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad Co. tracks south of Ann Street, West Chicago police said.

As the southbound EJ&E train neared the field around 12:18 p.m., the three children tried to cross the tracks from east to west, police said. While the older children successfully crossed, Chew failed to make it, police said.

EJ&E spokesman John Armstrong described what the train's crew told their investigators.

"Just as they crossed Ann Street, they saw some children along the side of the tracks," he said. "They tooted the whistle to make sure they knew the train was there, but the children ran across."

Paramedics took Chew to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield where she was pronounced dead, police said. The preliminary coroner's report shows Chew died from traumatic head injuries and there are no signs of foul play. Lab tests are still pending.

The girl's home is about 100 feet west of the tracks. Police did not say if the children had any adult supervision or reveal the ages of the other children. ABC7 reported the two other children were a family member and a family friend.

A new train crew took over following the accident as investigators swarmed the site. Armstrong pointed out that the incident is also traumatic for those operating the train.

The train was leaving from West Chicago and had two engines, 13 loaded cars and 18 empty cars, EJ&E officials said. There is a recording device which includes a video camera onboard the train that likely captured the accident, Armstrong said. The device is also supposed to record the speed of the train, he added.

The tracks are partially enclosed with a fence in some areas near the accident site, but not where the children were attempting to cross.

West Chicago and EJ&E police continue to investigate.

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