'Extremely Tired' Driver of Blue Line Train May Have 'Dozed Off' Before O'Hare Crash, Union Leader Says

Dozens of people were injured when a train derailed at O'Hare International Airport. Service may not be restored until sometime Tuesday.

Screen grab from CBS.
Screen grab from CBS.

A top CTA union leader says the driver of the Blue Line train that derailed at O'Hare International Airport "might have dozed off" because "she was extremely tired."

Robert Kelly, head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, told reporters at a news conference Monday afternoon that "she worked a lot of hours" prior to the eight-car train jumping the platform and plowing up an escalator, injuring 32 people aboard the train just before 3 a.m.

Six of the injuries were deemed serious but none were life-threatening.

The station will not re-open until the investigation is completed, possibly Tuesday. National Transportation Safety Board investigators are on the scene. The train cars remain on the escalator, reports the Tribune. Whether the driver contributed to the cause is a focus of the probe.

“The train is not going to go anywhere for the foreseeable future,” said Tim DePaepe, a railroad accident investigator. “It’s not going anywhere today. We need to examine the train and the position it’s in prior to its movement.”

DePaepe said event recorders and video footage will be reviewed to determine the train's speed as it hit the platform.

Passengers can ride a shuttle from Rosemont to the airport. The shuttle runs between the Forest Park station to Rosemont, reports the Sun-Times.

Officials told WGN the train jumped a bumper at the end of the line before driving up an escalator into a mostly empty station.

Chicago Fire Department officials told the Sun-Times the motorwoman "walking and talking" after the crash.

One passenger said he heard the recorded voice announce the final stop but the train kept going. After a "boom," Dion Stokes told the paper, the lights went out for a few seconds and people throughout the car began screaming. “I never seen nothing like this — this is like stuff you only see on TV."

Stokes was near the front of the train and flew from one side of the car to the other. Stokes, 21, hurt his ankle.

Milka Overton, a 26-year-old TSA agent on her way to work, told the Tribune she also was hurt in the crash.

"Oh, Jesus, I got tossed so bad," she said from the hospital. "I got tossed from one end of the train to the other end of the train."


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