A retired letter carrier from Palatine was killed Tuesday morning when a Metra express train collided with his car, authorities said.
Michael Levgard, 64, was pronounced dead at the scene about 7:30 a.m., Palatine police said.
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Authorities said they believe Levgard ignored warnings and went around the gates as he traveled north on North Brockway Street. A train traveling an estimated 60 mph hit his 1999 Mercury Sable, pushing it to Palatine Road before coming to a stop, authorities said.
The intersection where the crash occurred is a controlled crossing and all gates, bells and alarms were "working perfectly," Palatine fire Battalion Chief Patrick Gratzianna said.
Levgard was the only person in the car.
Train 622, running on Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line, was headed from Barrington to Des Plaines, skipping stops such as Palatine, Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect, Gratzianna said.
Fire crews had to perform "extended extrication" for about 25 minutes to remove the victim from his vehicle and the vehicle from the front of the train.
"The car was damaged heavily, so it took multiple crews to remove all the metal, the doors, the hood, the roof," Gratzianna said.
Levgard retired more than a year ago from the U.S. Postal Service, where he started his career in 1976, spokesman Sean Hargadon said. He worked as a city letter carrier out of Palatine's main post office on Colfax Street.
Hargadon said counselors will be available to meet with postal employees, which is standard protocol in similar cases.
More than 15 firefighters, a dozen police officers and officials from Metra and Union Pacific were on scene for several hours.
Train 622 sustained minor damage to the front car and required maintenance. While passengers were waiting for the train to begin moving, Gratzianna said, an ambulance was dispatched for one passenger complaining of neck pain.
By 10 a.m., the train was on its way to the Arlington Park station, where passengers could get off, then take another train eastbound, Metra spokesman Michael Gilles said.
An outbound train had left the Palatine station about three minutes before the collision, Gilles said. Other trains began to run on the Northwest line about 9:15 a.m. when Metra was able to reopen one track in the area of the accident.
The Palatine Police Technical Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the crash.
• Staff writer Kimberly Pohl contributed to this report.