Truck driver cited in Bartlett Metra crash
October 23, 2013 (BARTLETT, Ill.) -- The driver of the semi that was struck by a Metra train in northwest suburban Bartlett Monday has been cited for disobeying traffic signs.
Volodimyr Matkivski of Warminster, Pennsylvania, was issued two citations, one for violating a highway grade crossing and the other for avoiding a traffic control device.
Authorities say Matkivski disobeyed a sign that said "no left turn," then disobeyed another sign that warned there was only 22 feet between the track and a stop sign. While Matkivski was stopped at that stop sign on West Bartlett Road, investigators say, a portion of his semi trailer was still on the railroad tracks and then struck by the Metra train.
Three people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Matkivski's court date is Nov. 18.
The semi-truck was carrying a load of cars when it collided with inbound Train 2242 at Western and Bartlett Road in the northwest suburb. Witnesses say several of the cars on the trailer went flying at the time of impact. The train derailed near the Bartlett station.
A heavy-duty crane lifted part of the trailer Monday night, moving it off the tracks. The other part of the trailer was a quarter mile down the tracks, with the cars it was hauling scattered all around.
"We heard a big bang and then the building kind of trembled. I looked up and saw that the train was dragging something over, and then there was a big cloud of smoke," said Melanie Alvarez, witness.
Melanie Alvarez was watching from the window of her family's restaurant. Because of the time of day, just before 4 p.m., there were relatively few people at the Bartlett station and only 20 passengers on board the inbound train.
Donald Chan lives across the street from where the train first collided with the truck.
"I heard a loud sound and then all of a sudden just saw a bunch of debris everywhere," said Chan.
Metra officials say the gates and lights were working at the time of the crash Monday afternoon.
"It's a fully marked intersection, it has lights, it has the arms that come down. At this particular point we do not know why the truck itself was on the tracks. The Metra police department is the lead agency and they are currently investigating the cause," said Michael McGuigan, Bartlett Police Department.
Chan says he saw the truck's driver get out after the collision. He had cleared the tracks with his cab when the Metra Milwaukee District-West line train hit the trailer. With the tracks shut down during rush hour, many commuters headed to the northwest suburbs were delayed at Union Station.
Most of those on the train involved in the crash were able to catch shuttles to other stations on the route.
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