Man Killed By Metra Train In Palatine

Police said Michael Levgard of Palatine, 64, was killed Tuesday morning when his car was struck by a Metra train.

UPDATED 12:29 P.M.

A man was killed Tuesday, Dec. 27 when a Metra train hit the vehicle he was driving.

Michael Levgard, 64, of Palatine was was headed north on Brockway Street at about 7:34 a.m. when his 1999 Mercury Sable was hit by an inbound Metra train. The vehicle was pushed along the tracks and came to rest at Palatine Road. The car was pushed about 1,000 feet.

Palatine Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

The Palatine Fire Department said that firefighters quickly realized that Levgard had not survived the crash. It took about 25 minutes extricating him from the vehicle.

Palatine fire officials said the Metra train involved in the crash sustained minor damage to the front car which required some maintenance before the train could be moved.

One passenger on the train required minor medical assistance. The passenger was treated at the scene by paramedics. The vehicle was removed from the tracks at 10:30 a.m.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the train was an express train and was traveling between 50 mph and 75 mph. The newspaper also identified the train as 622 and that it had left McHenry at 6:53 a.m.

A witness told the Tribune that the gates were down at the time of the crash and that a second train was stopped at the Palatine station when the express train came through.

Jeff Van Horn December 27, 2011 at 05:10 PM
RIP Bogie ... you will be missed dearly. Smartest person I knew.
Jackie December 27, 2011 at 07:00 PM
I just saw him Christmas day and wished him a happy holiday. So sad and upsets me that he was a good man. Kind and quiet reading his books. May You Rest In Peace Bogie!
Paul Shafer December 27, 2011 at 10:55 PM
God rest your soul, Bogie. You will be sorely missed.
Kathy Burns December 28, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Love You Bogie. Dan and I will truly miss you. I will always remember your saying " Ladies and jellyfish". May you rest in peace.
Jay Joseph Laurence Wolf December 28, 2011 at 03:18 AM
What about the locomotive driver who will have nightmares for the rest of his his since Quote "Smartest person I knew." drove around lowered crossing gates? Also that the train could have derailed killed dozens if not more innocent passengers?
Nancy Wysocki December 28, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Sad to hear about this tragedy. This incident affected many people in different ways. As for the reason that his car was past a lowered gate will remain a mystery because we all know it is far better to be safe than reckless and really do not know the full reason why he was in such a dangerous place. I pray that Bogie will find peace, but I also pray that the driver of the train recovers from having a front seat to a tragedy that he could not stop from happening in time. It is a sad, sad day for everyone...
kendall12 December 28, 2011 at 05:01 PM
My heart goes out to Mr. Levgard's family, but I don't understand how a responsible person who has lived and worked in Palatine for a long time could make such a horrible mistake. It’s not like he was an out-of-town visitor who didn’t know the train schedules. When will people learn to respect the trains? The gates, the lights, the warning bells, the laws are there for a reason. They should not be disobeyed. I was on the front car of this train. I felt the impact, saw the debris scatter, smelled the gasoline. I was deeply affected by the accident. Fortunately, no one else was seriously injured or killed by his mistake. But not only did his mistake cost him his own life, he caused mental and emotional damage to many others – the engineer, the passengers, the witnesses, the emergency personnel. At the very least, by his inability to wait a few minutes for the train to pass, he showed blatant disregard for the safety and welfare of others, and inconvenienced thousands of commuters who had their own personal obligations and responsibilities they were trying to meet. People, please... DO NOT try to beat the train. EVER!
Jill Gilman Foelker December 28, 2011 at 08:24 PM
we will all miss mike"bogie" but I want to let all know I witnessed this horrible accident from the dining room window at lamps.The gates on brockway were not down,I swear to it, nor were the bells ringing,I heard the blast of the horn,then the crash in a split second, then watched as my friends car was dragged at, at least 70 mph to stop just past palatine rd. I reported this to the police, and to the I.C.C federal inspector. no one from the railroad ever came to speak to me. I think it is strange that,me being an eye witness closest to the impact, I would have been interviewed by now,they have my name address phone # and know where i work. I am now in the process of trying to contact them. So please people please do not jump to conclusions he did not go around the gates.He was way to intelligent for that. Rest in peace bogie we love you!
Bucephalus December 28, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Well I don't know, the Palatine Fire Department said "all gates, bells and alarms were “working perfectly,” Palatine fire Battalion Chief Patrick Gratzianna said." http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20111227/news/712279935/
Bucephalus December 29, 2011 at 12:09 AM
It also appears another witness says that the gates were, in fact, down. "The gates were lowered at the time, and Greco said he believed the motorist might have been trying to go around the gates without realizing the second train was bearing down." http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-up-northwest-line-shut-down-after-train-hits-car-in-palatine-20111227,0,5987451.story
Jill Gilman Foelker December 29, 2011 at 01:13 AM
well mr buccephalus, they( the fire department) was told that by the railroad people, and mr Grecco was over 100 yards away and across palatine rd from the impact. I on the other hand was aprox. 10-20 yards from the impact and saw the gate was up,when Mr. levgard went to cross the tracks, and the train going at least 70+miles an hour, blasted his horn only one short blast then hit his car, it was no fault of he engineer, and I fell horrible for what he saw,cause I saw it too!But the gates were up ! they go up and down all the time, when there's a train or not .
Bucephalus December 29, 2011 at 03:22 AM
1: He shouldn't have gone to cross the tracks in the first place. There was already an inbound train in the station loading passengers. From Brockway the train was less than half a block away. You'd have to be literally blind not to see it there. The presence of the second train is not at all important in this case. There was a parked train at the station! 2: The gates do not go up and down all the time. That's a malfunctioning gate and something that would be fixed owing to the obvious safety hazard. Such malfunctions would get reported very quickly. 3: I, unequivocally, believe the Palatine Fire Chief who is legally required to ascertain the status of the gate equipment. For him to lie about that would be criminal negligence for starters. I can't fathom him doing that. 4: Lamplighter's southern most tip is 80 yards from the intersection of Brockway and the middle track. To castigate Mr. Gecco for being 100 yards away while you were no closer than 80 yards is extremely disingenuous. You were not 10-20 yards away if you were in Lamplighter's.
G December 29, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Something must have been wrong with the gates. Traffic was screwed up for 30 mins on plum grove yesterday while the gates and signals were tested over and over. Why would they test them if nothing was wrong?
Scott December 29, 2011 at 03:00 PM
G - maybe thats part of the accident investigation process? It does not imply there is a problem.
Scott December 29, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Jill - please keep us up to date on the progress of your report to the police. Surely they'll want to talk to you. If not you need to press the issue.
Jill Gilman Foelker December 29, 2011 at 09:14 PM
mr Buccephalus, what can I say you know everything! I never said the fire chief lied, they are told about the gates via the rail road people, who is responsible for the care of the gates. I did not measure my distance, and I am not saying Mr Grecco did not see what he saw I said I was closer that is all. and if you go to downtown palatine frequently you will see the gates going up and down at brockway ,when there is no train anywhere in sight and when there's a train stopped at the station I hope you don't ever have to see what I saw! Hopefully we will all learn to look 2-3 times b4 we cross any rail road crossing even when the gates are up! Have a nice day!
Bill Pohlman December 29, 2011 at 09:49 PM
Let's keep in mind that a good, kind man died. I mourn for him and all the people who will miss him. Jill, I can only imagine how much this is hurting you. Hang in there.
Jill Gilman Foelker December 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM
thanks bill you are right!
Jean December 30, 2011 at 06:50 PM
I have to agree with Jill here about the gates at those crossings. Just a little over a week ago I was running down Plum Grove Road. I came to the intersection and gates were down for a significant amount of time due to a train loading at the station heading westbound. The gates eventually timed out and went back up. The gates went up, but only long enough for 1 car to pass through before they started coming back down because a 2nd train was coming headed eastbound. Even on foot, it was not immediately apparent another train was coming. I would imagine being in a car sitting at the gate, your reaction to start going would be quicker, especially if you have been stopped for a while. Also, last summer the gate there did malfunction. We were leaving the carnival in Palatine and we stopped at the downed gates (with no train in sight) for over 30 minutes and ended up having to call the police. (we were stuck amongst traffic and the median and were unable to turn around or go another way) so yes, there have been many problems with the crossings in Palatine.
Ellen January 06, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Did you see him drive around the gate? Did you see that the gate was down? If not, you're sounding mighty judgemental. You saw debris scatter? Didn't you look at the gate? Didn't any of those inconvenienced commuters bother to look at the position of the gates? I first heard of this story on the radio and it was presented, not as a tragedy to a man, his family and friends but, as you so described, a big inconvenience to the poor commuters. Well, please accept my condolences for the interuption to your busy life! Geeze!
kendall12 January 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM
No, Ellen, I didn't SEE him go around the gate, but I heard the warning bells, I heard the engineer sound the horn. No, I couldn't see the gate, but I spoke to the engineer after the accident. Other than Levgard, he is the one who had the best view of the accident. He saw the car pull up to the gate, start to pull around it, hesitate, and then pull out in front of the train. The video tape confirms his story. What more proof do you need??? I feel badly for Levgard's family. But it's not just a matter of an inconvenience to commuters; it is a safety risk for the people on the train. Other people's stupidity is putting my life in danger, and frankly, that makes me very angry. No one has any valid reason for disobeying the barriers unless they are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that there are no moving trains in the vicinity. No, I don't think that the punishment for being stupid should be death... but sometimes when you do something stupid, death is the CONSEQUENCE. So don't "Geeze!" me, Ellen. You weren't there. You have no idea what happened. Don't you dare call me judgmental, because that makes you the pot calling the kettle black. You are judging me for my comments. Get over yourself.


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