UPDATED, 8:28 p.m.: Crews have successfully removed the silver Chrysler Town and Country minivan from the wall of the La Grange (Road) train station at 25 W. Burlington Avenue where it was embedded after a crash at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
A spokesman for Metra, Tom Miller, confirmed that an 82-year-old Michigan woman had accidentally backed the vehicle into the station when she hit the gas by mistake. The woman was uninjured; one person inside the station was transported to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
“We’re still assessing any damage to the station itself,” Miller said. He added that train service will not be affected, but could not say when the station will reopen or how repairs will proceed.
Crews were out on Burlington Avenue removing rubble in the snow after twilight fell.
Paula Rodriguez of Lûxe Home Interiors, across Burlington Avenue from the station, didn’t see the crash but said it produced a tremendous noise. “I thought it was something with the trains, because it was so loud,” Rodriguez said.
The car was parked in front of Lûxe before the crash, and staff noted that had the car accelerated forwards instead of backwards, it would have gone straight into their store instead.
That’s already happened to two other La Grange storefronts this year. Less than a month ago, a student driver accidentally smashed up Allan E. Power Plumbing & Heating. And in April, a car sped through Blue-Eyed Jack—which is also right across from the La Grange station.
“Some of my artists have called and said, hey, we heard about it, aren’t you glad it’s not you, and I’m like, yeah, because I couldn’t survive another one!” said Blue-Eyed Jack owner Jack Baldus. “This is crazy—the force that they’d have to use to get through that brick.”
A student driver also crashed into Natasha’s Salon and Day Spa in September 2011, and another car struck the front of Fey & Co. Jewelers in March of that year.
Original, 3:30 p.m.: Road closures were in effect around the La Grange train station around 3:30 p.m. Thursday after a van drove through the side of the building.
La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub said an elderly woman was pulling out of a diagonal parking space on Burlington Avenue across the street from the station Thursday afternoon, when she accidentally hit the gas and drove into the building.
One person inside the station suffered minor injuries when she was hit by debris from the accident, Holub said. No other injuries were reported.
"We're very glad no one was (seriously) hurt, especially since there were a few people inside the structure," Holub said.
The van is lodged about four feet inside the building and has not yet been removed for fear of doing further damage by dislodging more bricks and mortar. Crews are en route to the train station to oversee the van's removal, in hopes of minimizing any additional structural damage to the building.
Holub said he does not expect any charges to be filed against the Michigan resident responsible for the accident.
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