Local safety activist pleased with program, yet wants more

Ray Zukowski, father of Lombard teenager Kristen Bowen who died in 2006, said he is pleased with the increase of awareness for both villages. Kristen was struck and killed by a train in Villa Park.

“Efforts from Villa Park, Lombard and surrounding communities, along with local safety organizations, are prioritizing safety,” Zukowski said. “Warnings along our safety fencing are protecting pedestrians from the busy east-west railway and are a prominent reminder of the dangers.”

Kristen was killed when she was clipped by a freight train at the railroad tracks just a quarter-mile west of Addison Road in Villa park while walking to meet friends. After waiting for one train to pass, she did not realize there was another one approaching from the opposite direction.

Zukowski started the nonprofit organization Targeting Education Awareness and Railroad Safety after the loss of his daughter. The group’s goal is to promote railway safety while assisting victims’ families through contributions and fundraising activities.

While satisfied with the efforts, Zukowski believes more always could be done.

“We would like to see additional funding be used to extend fencing farther east and protecting both sides of the rails,” Zukowski said. “Education and awareness in elementary and middle schools needs to be increased.”

By Eleni Demertzis, edemertzis@mysuburbanlife.com

Lombard Spectator