Train hits, kills person near station

Amtrak train No. 392, the northbound Illini, waits to board passengers at Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign on Sunday. At approximately 7:10 p.m., the train struck and killed an individual one mile south of Champaign. Erica Magda

Amtrak train No. 392, the northbound Illini, waits to board passengers at Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign on Sunday. At approximately 7:10 p.m., the train struck and killed an individual one mile south of Champaign. Erica Magda

A northbound train struck and killed an individual one mile south of the downtown Champaign Amtrak station, 45 E. University Ave., Tracey Connell, an Amtrak spokeswoman confirmed Sunday evening.

None of the 182 passengers aboard the train were injured and no information was available on the individual’s identity, Connell said.

According to Amtrak’s schedule, the train was traveling from Carbondale, Ill., to Chicago.

The train was scheduled to arrive at Illinois Terminal in Champaign at 6:49 p.m. Sunday.

Connell said the individual was struck at approximately 7:10 p.m.

Chris Salata, junior at the University of Chicago, was in the station when the incident occurred.

“I don’t think anyone really knew anything until (Amtrak) made the announcement,” Salata said in a phone interview.

Passengers disembarking from the train reported that onboard personnel informed them that an accident had occurred.

Amber Weathersby of Centralia, Ill., was seated in the last car of the train when it struck the individual.

“I felt something but I just thought it was something with the track,” Weathersby said. “(The onboard staff) told us we had to wait. They told us something had happened.”

After the impact, the crew pulled the train to a stop about 50 yards short of the platform entrance at the Champaign station.

Salata said that those waiting in the station’s vestibule to board the train learned of the death after passengers exiting the train began talking about it.

Chelsey Weaver of Chicago had been visiting her boyfriend and was waiting to board the train at the Champaign station Sunday night.

“I was told there was a collision,” Weaver said.

She had been waiting with other passengers in a vestibule between the station and the platform around 7:45 p.m. when they saw the train stop short of the station and were informed that there would be a delay in boarding.

Weaver said passengers were told that the train was “being held in police custody.”

The train was delayed 113 minutes from its scheduled departure time from Champaign after the fatality, Connell said.

The Champaign Police Department declined to comment on the incident.

The Springfield division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Champaign County Coroner’s Office could not be reached for comment at time of press.