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Woman Looked Directly at Engineer Just Before Train Hit Her Car on Gilbert

Driver did not try to move or leave car, train service engineer tells La Grange police.

Just before a Chicago woman was killed Feb. 10, when a train hit her car at the Gilbert Avenue crossing of the Burlington Northern railroad tracks, she turned toward the train service engineer, looked directly at him and did not seem surprised, that employee told La Grange police.

Maria G. Hinojosa, 57, of the 3000 block of south Keeler Avenue did not try to move the vehicle or get out of it, the engineer told La Grange police.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office has ruled the death a suicide and said it was due to multiple injuries from a train hitting a vehicle.  

The engineer, a 54-year-old man from Aurora, said Metra locomotive Engine 186 was going east at about 70 mph at about 5:54 p.m. that day and was approaching Gilbert Avenue when he noticed a light-colored vehicle stopped on the rails at Gilbert. He said the gates were down and flashing and he sounded the train whistle.

The driver’s door faced him on the tracks and in direct line of the front of the locomotive, he said. As he was about to hit the car, the driver turned toward him, looked directly at him and did not look surprised. She made no overt movement to try to move the vehicle or get out of the vehicle.

The 2007 Chevrolet Aveo was found overturned, with extensive damage and against a tree about 100 feet east of Gilbert, police said. An occupant with excessive trauma and no signs of life was seen inside. The Fire Department overturned the vehicle, extricated Hinojosa and brought her to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m.

Patch reports on law enforcement activity in our towns, using information provided by official agencies. Persons charged with a crime, or issued a citation for violation of a local ordinance, are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If you or a family member are charged with a crime or cited for a violation, and the charge or citation is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to notify the editor of this Patch site, matthew@patch.com, and we will do follow-up reporting on the case.

Jim Smith February 23, 2012 at 09:56 PM
When we have more high speed rail, crashes will be more severe and frequent.
BP February 25, 2012 at 02:19 AM
"""When we have more high speed rail, crashes will be more severe and frequent.""" You got that right. Higher speed trains will actually suck people into them because of the vacuum. It's not about the high speed for passengers but higher speeds for the private railroads drafting at higher speeds saving a few bucks on crew wages PLUS we got to fix their tracks up for them at the tax-payers expense. They get to steal all the salvage and send their track maintenance/signal crews to the unemployment line. Matthew Hendrickson: You still haven't given how a suicide is determined by a railroad engineers statement. 99 out of 100 people would take the engineers hear say BS not to mean diddly squat. This coroner some kind of city,state, and railroad bought or what?
Charrie' Basemore March 01, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Condolences to all involved,,,,
A Pawlenko March 01, 2012 at 09:17 PM
As a retired fright and commuter engineer, people have no concept of what is involved with the rules and regulations we are under when operating a locomotive, let alone a train. At the rate of speed that the train was going, applying the emergency brake would not have stopped the train in time. If someone wants to end their life they should not put that burden on some innocent person who will carry that tragedy till the day they die, let alone the innocent people on the commuter train that are injured because of this persons selfish act.
CI March 02, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Seems to me that "what ended the life" was the woman's choice to stay in her car and wait for a train to hit her.

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