Elmhurst Police: Train Hits Car But Everyone is OK
As the cleanup continues, residents are asked to stay home; wind chills expected to be 30 below tonight.
Elmhurst Mayor Peter DiCianni and the city of Elmhurst have issued separate statements today advising people to be patient and stay home.
Elmhurst Police Commander Dan Terry said several vehicle were removed from the roadways throughout the night last night.
“Obviously it was a mess due to the storm,” he said. “Several vehicles were towed from St. Charles and Route 83, there were some pulled off of Grand Avenue. There was not a significant amount of accidents, per se, more or less just stuck vehicles.”
Train vs. Car
There was one major accident this morning, however. A Metra train struck a vehicle that was stuck on the tracks this morning at about 8:30 a.m.
“The vehicle was crossing the railroad tracks at Myrtle and Park streets and got stuck on the tracks; there’s an incline there,” Terry said. “The two occupants got out and attempted to push the car off the tracks. They were unsuccessful. The train started coming, they got out of the way and the train struck the vehicle and pretty much dragged it 500 feet.”
The vehicle is totaled, but there were no injuries, he said.
“It could have been a lot worse, so we’re happy it went the way it did,” he said.
Crews Working Around the Clock
Elmhurst police and the public works department have extra staff on duty and on call to handle the snow.
“We do have people prepared, on standby to call in,” he said.
Snowplow crews will be working nonstop, starting with the primary roads.
“When they get the primary routes cleaned up—it might take awhile—they’ll start working on the side streets,” he said. “There’s a lot of snow out there, so it’s going to be slow.”
According to a press release from the city, “There are some side streets that are too deep to plow with any city snow plow trucks. The city is using special equipment, such as end loaders, to open these streets.”
The plows will make a pass down the middle of each major roadway first, then will continue operating “curb to curb” until all the streets are open.
“As a result of the depth, heaviness and drifting of the snow, smaller trucks (1-1⁄2 ton and 4 x 4 vehicles) that normally handle the side streets are ineffective in certain areas. The city’s larger 6-wheel vehicles, which have been keeping the main arteries of the city open for emergency travel, have been reallocated to begin opening side streets,” according to the release, which was distributed at about noon.
It will take “several days” to get all the streets cleaned up, according to the release. “Please continue to be patient with us as we will get to every street.”
Power Outages Minimal
As for power outages, very few residents were affected, Terry said.
“Power outages were very minor,” he said. “There was a power outage yesterday afternoon or early evening, but that’s been rectified. It was a very small part of town. We’ve been fortunate.”
DiCianni said the outage was a result of a downed power line in Oak Brook.
“ComEd was quick to fix it,” he said.
City crews will continue throughout the day and night until travel gets back to normal, Terry said.
“We’ve got a couple of different shifts doing the cleanup,” he said. “While one is getting a break, the next shift is on, so it will be nonstop until we get the streets clear.”
He is asking people to stay home so police resources can be reserved for emergencies.
“As far as today goes, people should probably stay home if at all possible because they might find themselves stuck,” he said. “We only have so many resources to handle the situation and we certainly want to be available to handle the emergencies.”
And Now, the Cold
Another reason to stay home? The National Weather Service is predicting a temperature of -13 tonight, with wind chills approaching 30 below.
Warming stations are available at both fire stations, on the north and south ends of town, and at the police station. Should anyone experience a power outage, they can call 911, and the police will dispatch a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get them to a warming center.
“I assure you that we have every resource available to take this challenge head on to clean up this town and to keep everyone safe,” DiCianni said.