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Commuter Train Hits Truck, Derails; 16 Injured

March 21, 1988

NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) _ A commuter train bound for Chicago hit a truck and derailed today, injuring at least 16 people, one of them seriously, officials said.

The train derailed after hitting a truck at a crossroads just west of New Lenox, said Will County police Sgt. Belt, who would not provide his first name.

Nancy Talaga, a witness, said the truck was stopped at a red light, and when the light changed, the truck tried to cross the tracks, which have warning signals and crossing gates.

″The train was right there,″ she said. ″I saw it in my rear-view mirror hit the trailer and derail.″

The truck went into a ditch and the driver came out of the cab, she said. He was trying to walk away, but was unsteady and had blood on his head.

New Lenox Fire Chief Ken Hossack said the injured were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in nearby Joliet. He said there were no fatalities.

Julie Grant, a spokeswoman at Silver Cross, said 16 people had been brought in, with one in serious condition. The others were in good condition and were expected to be released, she said.

Ms. Grant said the man in serious condition, Terry Lewis, was believed to be the truck driver.

The accident occurred shortly after 10:30 a.m., officials said.

Tracks were blocked in both directions, said Joyce MacDonald, a spokeswoman for Metra, the commuter railroad.

″We have sent a train out from Chicago to pick up passengers who want to continue their trip to Chicago,″ Ms. MacDonald said.

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