Truck driver cited in Bartlett train derailment
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A Pennsylvania truck driver has been issued two citations in connection with Monday's Metra train derailment in Bartlett, officials said Wednesday.
Volodimyr Matkivski, 41, of Warminster, Pa., was behind the wheel of a semitrailer truck that collided with an inbound Metra train approaching the Bartlett station at 3:38 p.m. Monday, said Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile.
On Wednesday, Metra police issued their findings of an investigation that resulted in two citations against Matkivski: violating a highway rail grade crossing and avoiding a traffic control device.
Matkivski, who owns an auto transport business in a Philadelphia suburb, said Wednesday that he doesn't think the crossing's warning lights and sirens were working. He said he never received warning that a train was approaching — and that it was only after he was on the tracks that the gates started coming down.
"The lights were not flashing. I keep driving and the gate was closed," Matkivski said. "I didn't violate anything."
He said the gate became stuck between the cars on his trailer, and he stopped because he "didn't want to break the gate."
Matkivski said his lawyer will request a copy of video of the crash taken from Metra's engine.
"The video camera is gonna show everything," he said.
Reile said video and audio recordings show the lights and gates were "working as intended."
The crash — which happened near Western and Railroad avenues — caused a minor derailment and delayed travel on the Metra Milwaukee District West Line for about two hours Monday afternoon. About 25 passengers were on the train at the time of the crash. Two passengers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The semitrailer truck was carrying five vehicles — two of which were thrown off at impact into a nearby parking lot, damaging several parked vehicles.
According to the Metra police report, the truck was on Railroad Avenue — the street parallel to the tracks on the south side — then crossed the tracks at Oak Avenue and turned left onto westbound Bartlett Avenue despite a no-left turn sign.
Two blocks later at Western Avenue, the driver turned to go back to the south side of the tracks, when the collision with the train occurred, according to the Metra report.
Reile said the driver disregarded a "no stopping on tracks" sign that indicates there is only 22 feet of clearance between the tracks and Railroad Avenue.
Matkivski's employer is listed on the report as Ace Management Co. of Richboro, Pa.
Matkivski posted bond and is due in court in Rolling Meadows Nov. 18.
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