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The Fox River Grove Incident 23 years later

The Fox River Grove Incident 23 years later


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this. Your on a school bus going to school in the morning, your bus then gets stopped
by a red light. The railroad crossings suddenly activate at a nearby crossing. But what you
dont realize is part of your bus is on the tracks and the train is barreling down toward
you at nearly 70mph and theres no way it can stop. Sounds like quite the nightmare huh?
Unfortunetly that nightmare was reality for a bunch of high school students in Fox River
Grove Illionois.par pardsb100sa100 On October 25th 1995 Metra
Express 624 is departing Crystal Lake Station bound for downtown in Chicago. It departs
at 7am right on time. 624 is often known as the Flyer since it skips most stations at
over 90mph as it heads down the windy city. However the buses at Crystal lake School district
were not having such morning luck. most of the buses were departing the garage on time
at around 6:15am but the driver for school bus 103 running route 47/155 to Carry Grove
High school didn’t show up for work. So 54 year old f1fs24lang1033 Patricia Catencamp,
a Safety supervisor would have to substitute that day. She had prior experience to bus
driving but she was still rather new to this route. By the time she was ready to leave
the bus was already 20 minutes late. It was a rather cold fall morning so some of the
students still waiting outside had to quote on qoute huddle toghether to keep warm. The
first 2 kids were picked up at the 1st stop at 6:55am and helped guide her through the
route so she knew where to go. By 7:05 the roads were backing up with typical rush hour
traffic but as for 624 it was flying at 60mph with no traffic stopping it. At 7:10 the last
of 39 kids got on the bus so now it was time to get to school. Freshman John Afinsen sat
in the 3rd row after Sophmore Joe Calti who stated that the back was for upper classmen
and the front was for freshies like him. That little move will prove critical later. par
Seconds later the train and bus’s paths had to intersect at the Algonquin road railroad
crossing. They were approaching it around the same time but the bus got there 1st. Catencamp
stopped, looked, and listened but she said she saw no train and proceded across but just
after that a red light stopped her at the other side of the crossingpar
Behind the bus Jim Hummel-uh was stopped behind the bus and noticed a headlight from the approaching
Metra. Suddenly the crossings activate warning of the oncoming Metra. Jim was rather concerned
about where the bus was stopped as he noticed a gate slapped the bus’s behind. Then Jim
knew something was wrong, 3 inches of the bus’s back hung over the tracks and the flyer
is going full speed toward it. The engineer and students were now facing one of his worst
nightmares possible. The engineer could only slam his emergency brakes, blow his horn,
and pray the bus got out of the way, the kids panicked yelling TRAIN! and telling Catencamp
to get out of the way as was Jim screaming GO GO GO!!!. But no ones prayers were answered.
par pardsa200sl276slmult1f0fs22lang9par
Metra 624 T-bones the bus at over 40mph. The force of the impact shears the whole passenger
compartment off the chasis of the bus spinning it 180 degrees onto the side of the tracks
with the students being thrown around like ragdolls. The police chief who witnessed the
whole scene from the police station down the street from the crossing immedietly called
in as many officers as he could and reqested EMTs to dispatch to the scene. Helen Getchell,
a nurse for the dying ran out of the nearby coffee shop and ironically had to work to
try and save some of the badly injured students. Rescuers worked frantically to free the students
from the mangled wreck of the bus while anxious parents awaited the news of their kids conditions.
5 kids died on impact and 2 died not long after the impact. one of them Jeff clark was
being treated by Helen with a Turkey pastry trying to help him breathe but he died in
her arms, he had just got his driver’s liscence. Tiffany Shnider who was Jeff’s friend died
too, she just got her first paycheck at her 1st job that would sadly never be checked
in. The sophmore Joe Calti who told the freshman John to sit in the front also died, he had
car trouble that morning and that descision to tell John to move up practically saved
the freshman’s life. 21 suffered minor injuries as did Patricica Catencamp the driver. How
could such a nightmare unfold on an average October morning. Was it solely the driver
at fault?par pardsb100sa100 The NTSB invesigation found
several factors to the crash. First off the crossing was badly designed. These kinds of
intersections are known as if1fs24lang1033 interconnectedi0 crossings because of the
need to link the railroad signals to the road signals to ensure safe passage. The crossing
was of inherently dangerous design, in that a long vehicle could be trapped partly on
the crossing while held by a red light at the intersection. If the driver had realized
the danger, she would still have been forced to pull through a red light to clear
the track when the crossings activatedpar Also According to tests conducted by the {{field{*fldinst{HYPERLINK
“/wiki/National_Transportation_Safety_Board”}}{fldrslt{ulcf1cf1ul National Transportation Safety Board}}}}f1fs24
, the warning lights on the railroad crossing activated 20 seconds before the arrival of
the Metra train. However, the traffic light clearing the rail intersection only allowed
cars to clear 18 seconds after the railway signals activated, giving vehicles only 2
to 6 seconds to clear the tracks. Roadway signal timing was under the jurisdiction of
the Illionos department of transportation, while railway timing was under the jurisdiction
of Union Pacific. No communication took place between both parties with regards to interconnected
signal timing. par It was reported that the crossings had originally
given a safe margin, but had been modified some months previously to allow a pedestrian
crossing cycle, overlooking the possible consequences at the railroad crossing. The traffic signal
would rest in the “WALK” indication for pedestrians during the morning commute period. When a
train is detected, the pedestrian interval must be ended. This process used up 12 seconds
of the warning time as the train approached. Pedestrian volumes at this crosswalk were
extremely light, according to a survey conducted by the Village of Fox River Grove in May 1996.
IDOT traffic engineers responsible for establishing signal timings should have recognized that
in this particular case, resting in “WALK” carries substantial risk and virtually no
benefit, and should not have allowed the traffic signal to rest in the pedestrian “WALK” interval.
If the traffic signals had not been serving the non-existent pedestrian, the bus would
have had a green light 12 seconds earlier than it did, and the collision would almost
certainly have been avoided. par In addition, the thumbwheel setting on the
crossing processor was reduced to 25 seconds from 30 seconds two weeks before the crash.
Union Pacific officials stated that the new value was still above the minimum constant
warning time of 20 seconds. par However that doesn’t excuse the driver from
anything. Patricia Catencamp, to properly judge the distance between the railroad tracks
when the vehicle stopped at a {{field{*fldinst{HYPERLINK “/wiki/Traffic_signal”}}{fldrslt{ulcf1cf1ul
traffic signal}}}}f1fs24 across the tracks. The failure of judgment meant that around
3 inches of the back end of the bus hung over the nearest rail. The body of the Metra train
extended 3 feet (1 m) past the rail. All of the injuries were sustained during this initial
impact. par NTSB concluded the traffic signal did turn
green 6 seconds before impact, but Catencamp was distracted trying to attend to what she
presumed was some crisis within the bus. par In the end bus 103 was scrapped after the
accident and New route designs brought the number of routes crossing railroad tracks
in the District 47 and District 155 school systems down from 70% in 1996 to 10% in 1997par
Patricia Catencamp would never drive a school bus again, but still worked for the school
district’s transportation division for another five years before retiring in 1999, then moving
out of state.. She never spoken publicly. Her friends, interviewed after the accident,
said she was devastated. So was the train’s engineer, Ford Dotson Jr., who wept during
the 1996 NTSB hearing while recalling his inability to stop the train in time.par
A large granite memorial and two plaques were placed in memory of the seven students killed
in the crash near the site, honoring the deceasedpar The Fox River Grove Public Library was renamed
the {{field{*fldinst{HYPERLINK “http://www.frgml.org”}}{fldrslt{ulcf1cf1ul Fox River Grove Memorial Library}}}}f1fs24
which includes an outdoor memorial seating area with the names of the seven studentspar
A memorial outside the high school the bus was headed to was added. par
23 years have passed and since the accident bus routes don’t go over train tracks as often.
So an accident like this never happens again.par par pardsa200sl276slmult1f0fs22lang9 par
par }

100 thoughts on “The Fox River Grove Incident 23 years later”

  1. Before Y'all ask again I've set up my next documentary. It will be the 1994 Cajon pass runaway coming December 14th 2018. I won't have time to work on more in late November so the next one is indeed the 1994 crash. the 1996 runaway is also up in the list. Keep an eye on Patreon for updates as I'll release when I start on them publically on Patreon, You will have to buy a preminum level tier for periodic updates unless you just go by the post dates and not their contents

  2. It's not the train fault but the bus driver fault. Of course she had to move away. The stupid quilt was eating at her. Never spoke publicly afraid for the world to know her ugly face. Shame on her.

  3. The bus driver is fully responsible for this tragic tragedy and I can't even imagine what he was feeling may they all rest in peace

  4. Along time ago the South Shore Line had a very similar accident like this. Ironically it was a bus carrying it's own employees. The bus driver drove through the crossing despite warning signals and 7 people killed and 70 injured!

  5. This accident brings back a lot of memories of the North Shore Line accidents that happened years ago. In many instances though it was people going around the crossing gates and at crossings protected only by crossbuck signs and wig-wag signals.

  6. i would’ve opened a safety window or a safety door and hopped out if i had enough time. the bus driver at fault. i cant believe this happened. who is stupid enough to stop on a train track???

  7. My bus route goes over the tracks, in which not only freight trains use, but also NC Rail/Amtrak passenger trails traverse. We always seem to miss the train by about 2 minutes, makes me sad every time

  8. Was it solely the Driver's fault?

    As a school bus driver of 15 years I'm going to just say it. Yes this was solely the driver's fault. We are trained and trained and trained to stop before the tracks, like this driver did, we are required to open our window and our door so we can hear. We are required to sit another few seconds to be absolutely sure the coast is clear, and not to proceed if the light on the other side of the tracks is what they call a stale green light, meaning that that light has been green for a while because the light is about to turn yellow then red. So the driver was at fault for not paying attention to the traffic light ahead of the tracks. The driver was at fault for not clearing the tracks I don't care if it was 3 in 3 miles part of her bus was on the track that is a no no. The driver is at fault for not having full control of the students so that when they were trying to tell her there's a train coming, she would have known something was very wrong. This is what happens when a train hits the bus. When the train hits anything, the train wins every time. Had she heeded the students warning, she could have cleared the tracks by rear-ending the car ahead of her, or by honking her horn and proceeding into the lane of traffic enough to clear the tracks that obviously the students saw oh, and they could have told her to keep going keep going keep going. I will take a hit my part of the cab, I will risk driving into traffic, and I will certainly without hesitation shove the car ahead of me out of the way in order to clear the tracks enough to get my bus to safety. We are shown this video or one very similar to it about this particular crash, every year when we go to orientation two weeks before the school year starts. This video is the go-to for training on Railroad safety. This crash did not have to happen. When drivers are running late, safety should never be compromised. At our bus barn we have a motto. If you leave the bus barn late, you just run late. The dispatcher will call the school and notify them and we are not to cut short our inspection we are not to speed we are not to cut corners we are just to go ahead and proceed tardy. I am going to be a bit more critical than the average person because I do this every single day and I take my job deadly serious. I tell my students if this bus catches on fire I have 2 minutes to get every single one of you off the bus. I then asked them who was the last person off this bus? And they all know it is me, the driver. I tell them I will not leave a student behind even for my own safety. If that student goes, I go with them. Then I stress the importance of having respect for me and what I tell them because if there's an emergency of any type I may not have time to wait for them to ask me why are you telling us to do this, I want them to just do what I tell them to do without question. there's no blame on the students part in this situation and it's sad the seven of them had to die when they did everything right. What really ticks me off is the substitute driver was a safety manager. There's just no excuse. Enclosing I'm going to say this one more time. The train always wins.

  9. Hey, just wanted to say how much I loved watching your documentaries, they are well laid out, easy to follow and the music and setting for most are amazing

    I'm memory of all the victims <3

  10. I’m very confused how much of the bus was actually hit. He kept saying 3 inches but then said it was t- bones and the drawing showed more like 3 ft of the bus hanging over the tracks. I guess that’s not really that important. My mom was a school bus driver for 25 years. She would have practiced her route in the bus with no kids first to make sure she got used to it. Where we live bus routes go over train tracks everyday. They have to stop before the tracks whether a train is coming or not. Then when they are absolutely sure one is not coming then they can proceed through- of course given that the arm hasn’t come down. She also would not have entered onto the tracks if she could not clear it. But she would have known that already because she practiced it. And in the event she still misjudged she sure as hell wouldn’t just sit there. She would have pulled into the crosswalk or rear ended the car in front because it’s much “safer” to rear end the car in front then to be hit by a speed train!!!

  11. She could have moved.. still very sad regardless. Poor judgment unfortunately. I can’t imagine what the family’s went through and the train conductor felt. Also the panic the students have felt before the crash. Growing up I thought this was just a scary story till years later knowing it was a very real tragedy that occurred. RIP to those who lost their lives

  12. Has anyone ever thought to blame the DRIVER that didn't show up for work?! If He showed up and did his job, the students would be ok! He should be in trouble and hated!

  13. That bus driver should have went to prison for gross negligence causing multiple deaths. You never stop with any part of any vehicle on a train track for any reason. (Especially a fully loaded school bus) I don't care if you can see a mile in both directions. She should have went through the red light at least enough to get off the tracks, and by the way they determined the light was green 6 seconds before the collision. This woman had terrible situational awareness and it cost many young people their lives. And her never driving a bus again and feeling bad about what happened is not sufficient punishment.

  14. I hope that it was only popular jocks and cheerleaders who were killed. Ya know, the bigshots who pick on all the awkward kids. HA-HA! They deserve to die ! CARRIE rules !

  15. Number one they were not high school students. They were little kids number to the lady driving the bus was a freaking idiot. How could you not know the back of your buses on the tracks? It must have been a satanic sacrifice number .

  16. This is the disaster that is the reason buses have to stop before all railcrossing, as I often say change is often written in blood

  17. I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. But I ask why the bus driver didn't step on the gas as soon as she heard the train and I don't believe she didnt? Also the kids were screaming Train and Go!! She should have drove through the red light.

  18. I've always been fascinated with this accident, mostly due to the school bus driver's lack of judgment that cost many students their lives, even though she was a safety supervisor! Although, the timing of the stop light and the crossing gates to me also proved to be more critical in this. It is more safer by driving through a red light then getting hit by mega-ton train.

  19. I photograph at Cary Grove High School several times a year. I remember this from when it happened and am sobered every time I walk past the memorial at the front of the school. I have no doubt that several of the students that died have passed in front of my camera.

  20. Many things could have been done.

    1. The Driver could have just kept driving

    2. Kids in the back could have got to the front a little faster

    3. Kids in front could have got out while kids in back went to front, and driver would have to open door

    4. Instead of screaming (I get why they were screaming, just saying) the kids could have had a few people yell “KEEP GOING FORWARD!” or even gone up to the bus driver to do so

    I get that these may not have saved everyone but you get the point

  21. 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺😭😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺🥺🥺🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺🥺🥺🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺🥺🥺😭🥺🥺🥺🥺😭🥺🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭🥺😭😭🥺😭🥺😭😭🥺😭

  22. Damn finding this video really opened my eyes. I used to live a town over in Cary until I moved to crystal lake and when I was young me and my mom would go to a restaurant in fox river grove named lil beefys, sad to know that restaurant was less than a mile from this accident

  23. They should have let another bus driver who had a similar route like bus 103 to do a substitute route instead of having a supervisor. She should have that route description in handy for her as well.

  24. This just doesn't add up….. I mean…. I know people are stupid….but this takes the cake!!! Incompetence at its finest!!

  25. I live in an area where we have a lot of trains. Before they built a couple overpasses, trains ruled traffic lol. You should always respect train tracks and never try to outrun a train. I've lost friends who didn't respect them.

  26. It sure is a good thing that school busses now have seat belts and airbags 25 years after this terrible incident… Oh wait they don't.

  27. At a crossing like that, if the signal activates when I'm already on the tracks, green or red I'm coming through. No if's, and's or but's about it. Any dissenters can try to stop 40 tons tractor-trailer, if they dare

  28. This is the why I am so glad that my bus does not cross the railroad tracks. Also if kids are being load my bus driver would stop in the middle of the tracks to yell at kids.

  29. If I was a train driver for Amtrak and saw an bus stopped i would slam the emergency and the indipendent brakes

  30. Correct me if I’m wrong but when I was kid I remember watching this program in the late 90’s, I believe it was Unsolved Mysteries with the original host, but they featured this story about a school bus not being able to make it over the tracks and it got hit by the train, killing the kids on board. The urban legend was if you sprinkle baby powder on your trunk and bumper, once you crossed tracks you’ll see little child sized fingerprints on your bumper. It’s the kids helping you cross the tracks safely. Wonder if this is the same story.

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