A 56-year-old Skokie man suffered from a medical condition and lost control of his vehicle in downtown Park Ridge Tuesday afternoon, causing an unusual crash, Park Ridge police said in a statement Wednesday.
Thousands of commuters on the Union Pacific Northwest Line were delayed about an hour because the accident halted trains traveling in both directions. However, no trains hit either of the cars involved in the accident, and both drivers were taken to the hospital in what police described as "non-incapacitating" condition.
The accident happened at about 3:54 p.m. when the Skokie man, who was driving a beige 2011 Chevrolet four-door, was driving north from Touhy Avenue on Cumberland Street, which ends at the embankment, police said in the statement. Drivers must take a left turn from that point to go westbound on Cedar Street.
A medical condition caused the man to lose control of his vehicle, police said, and it rear-ended a gray 2012 Lincoln four-door driven by a 66-year-old Arlington Heights man, which was traveling in the same direction. The Chevrolet pushed the Lincoln off the roadway, police said, and the Chevrolet kept going--up a steep dirt and grass embankment and then onto the railroad tracks. It came to rest on the center track.
Metra halted all trains until a public safety crew could tow the car off the track and send it back down the embankment (click here to see video).
Trains began rolling again almost exactly an hour after the accident, and Park Ridge Police Commander Lou Jogmen credited the city's police and fire departments, Metra and A-1 Towing of Niles for coordinating to speed the removal of the car from the tracks.