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UPDATED: Train Hits SUV on Tracks in Wheaton, Driver Walks Away

A driver is alive after a freight train hit his jeep near the College Avenue train depot. Local mail carrier said he saw the driver of the vehicle standing on the tracks near the downtown Wheaton station earlier this morning.

Updated 1:59 p.m.

Wheaton police have just issued a press release regarding an accident involving a freight train and an SUV on College Avenue at Hill Street.

A 52-year-old Wheaton man drove a 2005 Jeep Liberty on eastbound College Avenue, around the activated railroad crossing signal at College Avenue and Hill Street around 11:50 a.m. Tuesday, according to police.

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When the westbound Union Pacific freight train hit the car, the car was pushed off the tracks and onto its side, according to police.

The driver was able to exit the vehicle on his own. He was transported to Central DuPage Hospital for treatment. The train resumed travel around 1:18 p.m.

Updated 1:43 p.m.

A man was taken to Central DuPage Hospital after a train hit his SUV on the Union Pacific West line tracks around noon Tuesday at College Avenue, officials said.

The same man may have been involved in an incident on the railroad tracks near the downtown Wheaton station about an hour earlier, according to a witness who talked to Patch.

A local mail carrier, who preferred not to give his name, said he saw a man standing on the tracks around 11 a.m. Tuesday at the downtown Wheaton station and that police “chased” the man away from the tracks. He said the man was an older white man with a beard.

The mail carrier said further, when he saw the accident involving the SUV, he asked police if it was the same man at the downtown Wheaton location, and police said yes. Patch could not immediately confirm this with Wheaton police.

Editor's update: At 3:30 p.m., Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Tom Meloni told Patch that police did receive a call about a man on the tracks around 9:40 a.m. Police investigated but did not find anyone on the tracks. They found a man in the vicinity who matched the caller's description, but the man did not indicate he had been on the railroad tracks. Police had not yet determined whether the man they talked to at 9:40 was the same man who was later involved in the accident with the train.

Bystanders at the scene said the vehicle went around the gates before the train hit the vehicle. None of these details could be immediately confirmed by Wheaton police.

However a Wheaton police officer at the scene confirmed the driver is OK "for now."

Wheaton resident Roni Mugaki said he was driving on College Avenue when he saw the train hit the car. "I saw the impact... I asked my wife, 'Did you see that?' and I was like, 'Oh my God, this is real.'"

Mugaki said the train hit the vehicle and flipped it, and the driver was able to leave the vehicle after it came to rest.

An officer at the scene said no one has been charged, and that the case is still under investigation.

Patch will update this story as details are confirmed.

Thomas Kaufman March 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM
The news media misidentified the crossing. The crossing is officially Hill Ave. I can assure you, the train crew was given a drug test as part of the investigation. Also there is a black box on the locomotive and the data located inside will be downloaded and reviewed. That includes the video footage as well.
John Mihas March 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The drive is to blame for going around the gate, he should get his license revoked.
Charlotte Eriksen March 14, 2012 at 02:02 PM
There is a crossing there actually.

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