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Metra train almost hit by police officer in Nov.

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MOKENA, Ill. (WLS) --

A police officer's dash cam captured the moment he narrowly avoided being hit by a Metra train at a crossing in south suburban Mokena.

The near-tragedy is being blamed on an electrical problem with the crossing gate. Multiple drivers have almost been hit at that crossing.

The now-viral dash cam video shows the officer's quick reaction, leaving Metra riders amazed.

"Cat-like reflexes," said Chris Blake, a Metra rider ABC7 showed the video to. "He was lucky that he did. It would be a lot different if that wasn't the case.

Mokena police said Officer Peter Staglewicz was driving on 191st Street in November when an inbound Rock Island Line train came speeding through the crossing. Warning lights can be seen flashing, but not until the moment when the train arrives. The warning gates also do not fall until the train arrives.

"That's definitely professional training and understanding of the roads and keeping an eye not just on what's in front of you but all the peripherals and everything like that," said Luke Beard, Metra rider.

It was also a close call for the driver in front of the Staglewicz.

Metra said the problem was an electrical short in the crossing gate. The equipment was repaired a few hours later, according to Metra, after precautions were taken to prevent future near-misses.

In posting the video on his Facebook page, Stanglewicz wrote he may have used a lifetime's worth of luck in that near-miss moment.

"He had really good instincts. That's good that he was able to do that because not many people have that type of instincts, like if it was somebody else, they easily could have gotten injured, said Melanie Frieh, Metra rider.

ABC7 Eyewitness News reached out to Stanglewicz but he did not return our messages. Mokena Police said the village is thankful no one was injured.



Edited by Rover

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I don't trust any computerized crossings for this exact reason. I spent two semesters interning with the CSX signal department. Trust me it's worth your time to stop and look.

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The DART crossing I have to go through on a regular basis has good sight lines, and is not far from the station, so the trains aren't doing top speeds. But even when I get a green light at an intersection, I give quick glance to see if the coast is clear before proceeding after being stopped, and at the front of the line.

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While it wouldn't be a complete fix for this situation, it would seem an inexpensive addition might help mitigate the condition. If the signal was wired to another light facing the tracks, the engineer could see that the lights were not activated and initiate emergency braking. Probably wouldn't be enough time to prevent an accident but a slower-moving train is more likely to increase the number of survivors.

This goes along with my suggestion that when the gates are down or lights on and an object is detected in the box, a camera is activated to record locally during that time with an eye to seeing plate numbers and drivers. Weekly, or so, the police can pick up the data and search it for trespassers, issuing tickets after the fact. Not that expensive and wouldn't have to be used everywhere but lots of places could have a sign "Traffic camera MAY BE in use to detect those going through red signal or around down gates. Zillion dollar fine for offenders". The sign alone would cut down on the stupidity.

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