By Courtney Brennan
COLONA, Illinois - Cindy Madden's tragic death at the train tracks in Colona is unfortunately one of many deaths that occur at track crossings in Illinois.
"We rank second, nationally, for the number of track miles as well as the number of crossings. We have almost 8,400 crossings in the state," says Illinois Operation Lifesaver director Chip Pew. Operation Lifesaver is an educational organization dedicated to reducing the number of train crossing fatalities.
The 8,400 miles of crossings provide more exposure, more risk for accidents like Madden's. In 2005, Illinois led the nation with 30 fatalities at track crossings.
If your car gets stuck on a set of tracks, get and look for the 1-800 on the signal box. Call that number and give the transit operator your location and the operator will notify any train conductors in your area. That way, the conductors can stop the train if it's anywhere near you.
In Cindy Madden's case, her car got stuck on the tracks and a train immediately came barreling towards her. In this instance, Operation Lifesaver says get out and run, but run towards the train.
"Your initial reaction would be just getting away from the train when in actuality you want to go towards it but to the sides."
If you run the way the train is traveling, it's very likely that the train will hit your car and then the car will hit you - just like it did with Cindy Madden. Operation Lifesaver and Madden's family say do not waste any time trying to save your car or valuables - it's not worth it.