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James D.F. Samdavid1

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Member Since: Apr, 2002

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The Deadly Express Train
By James D.F. Samdavid1
Monday, April 08, 2002



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Recent stories by James D.F. Samdavid1
· Da Mob Hit
· White Washed Stones part 1
· Routine Stop Turns Deadly
· The Taped Grips
· White Washed Stones Part 2
· The Death of A Teenager
· Burt Reynolds Is In Town
           >> View all 20


The Eight-Forty-Five Chicago Express

The Eight-Forty-Five Chicago Express



Frank had loaned his old Chevrolet beater to his son, Brad to take his girl friend out to a movie. Brad was just barely seventeen and had been driving but a short time. Brad was so excited and wanted to impress his girl friend Rita, by taking his dad’s car and driving her to the movie. He didn’t care what was showing, he just wanted to be able to act like a man and drive a vehicle, taking his girl out on their first date.

After the movie was over, Brad decided to stop at Richard’s Drive-in on Cicero and Touhy. The usual teenage crowd was there and everyone was having a blast. After all if you had a vehicle and you had a girl, then you were with the in-crowd. Brad was in, without a doubt.

Tommy Jackson, the local blow-hard, was there in his hopped up Vette and was, as usual, spinning his tires in the parking lot. It seems like there is always one in every crowd. Brad thought that Tommy was just a smart ass and didn’t pay any attention to him, or his shinny new Vette. Rita on the other hand seemed to be excited by Tommy’s good looks and his beautiful Chevy-Corvette. Now this got Brad’s attention and he was starting to fume as he watched her stare and smile at Tommy as he would slowly drive by and then slam the car into low and squeal the tires across the parking lot, laying rubber as he fishtailed out onto Cicero Avenue.

Then it happened. Tommy slowed down as he came back around again and seeing Rita smiling at him, stopped his car, placed it in neutral and walked up to her side of the car that Brad and she were sitting in.

“Well hello beautiful, wanna go for a ride in my new Vette?” “Brad do you mind if I take a spin with Tommy? Please, pretty please?” “Rita if you want to take a spin with this jerk, then you just go ahead and do it.” “Thanks honey, I will only be a minute. We will be right back.”

Tommy and Rita raced out of the parking lot together and the car turned sideways a couple of times as Tommy goosed it squealing and spinning the rear tires as they sped down the busy street in Lincolnwood. Brad was fit to be tied. Here he was out with Rita on their first date and she had just dumped him for the rich kid with the Vette.

Rita and Tommy returned after about twenty minutes and she gave him a quick kiss on his cheek before she got out of the Vette and started towards Brad in the parking lot. Brad wanted to back his car out of the parking lot and leave without her, but he was taught to respect his friends by his parents. She was his responsibility and he would be taking her home, regardless of anything that she may or may not have done while out on a date with him.

They didn’t talk very much as Brad neared Rita’s house in west Wilmette, just a few blocks from his own home in the Village of Winnetka. Because of his distraction and thoughts about Rita riding in Tommy’s car, Brad didn’t see the van backing out into the street. Before he could react he had slammed into it broadside. Luckily neither of them were hurt, nor was the elderly lady that had backed out of her driveway directly into Brad’s path. He was driving below the speed limit when the accident occurred and no tickets were issued after the Police completed their investigation of the crash.

Brad had to call his father and tell him that he had an accident and the old Chevrolet was being towed to Irv’s Standard Station at Winnetka and Green Bay Road. It was not drivable as the right front fender and hood was pushed up against the windshield due to striking the van. “No dad, no one was hurt. I am so sorry that I wrecked your car.” “We will talk about it when you get home, do you need a ride son?” “Nah, I am only three blocks away, it will be one of the longest short walks that I have ever had to make.”

Frank and Donna were concerned about Brad, but not in the least regarding the old car that hey had owned for so many years. “ A car can be replaced, but a life, now son that is very different.” His mother had told him, after she saw that he was not injured.

The next morning things were very different in the Larson household. Frank had always jumped in his car and drove down to the Kenilworth train station to catch the eight-fifty into Chicago. He would drive down and park it in the assigned spot in the Chicago Northwestern parking lot, feed the meter and walk across the tracks just in time to board the train. He had been doing the same routine for the last fifteen years, just like clockwork. “I could do it in his sleep”, he had said to a fellow commuter once as they talked together on the way into work while riding the train.

Donna had to slip on her robe and slippers in order to take Frank to the train. She was already upset due to the sudden change in her schedule. She was going to Chicago today on a special assignment for the Chicago Trumpet Newspaper. She had been doing a piece on the Martin Luther King assignation and they wanted her to come downtown this morning. She was in the bathroom trying to get dressed when Frank had remembered that his car had been crashed the night before and now he was going to miss the train. “Honey could you please hurry up, I am going to miss my train.” “Okay, okay just let me slip on my robe.” She still had not put on her underclothing, but by wearing the robe, no one would be the wiser.

Donna and Frank approached the red lighted intersection of Park and Green Bay and Frank told her to sneak through the intersection by making a right turn. After sneaking through the red light they pulled up within two feet of the train crossing gates, just west of the tracks on Kenilworth Avenue. The red lights were flashing for the train and the gates were down. There was a northbound train sitting in front of the train station and was just starting to pull out. Frank knew that the Chicago eight-fifty would be coming very soon and told Donna to go around the gates. “But Frank!” “Just do it, Donna. I am going to be late now.”
Frank knew that there was no danger and the gates were only down because the northbound train was still sitting in front of the train station.
The witnesses that were at the train station and the ones that were sitting inside their own vehicles could not believe what they were seeing. Frank and Donna drove around the gates and started across the train tracks blind to anything that may have be coming from the north.

What neither one of them saw was the express train that hit them broadside while traveling at a speed of over seventy miles an hour pushing their vehicle more than one mile, and finally coming to rest against a telephone pole at the next train crossing in the Village of Wilmette. It took the Fire Department and Rescue Squad over one hour to cut them out of the wreckage. The twisted and torn bodies of Frank and Donna Larson had been mangled so badly that even the people that knew them could not identify them.

It was without a doubt, something that I will never forget as long as I live. I was working for the Kenilworth Police Department and one of the first officers to respond on the scene after the call went out.

“Never, ever, go around crossing gates once they are down, unless so directed by a law enforcement officer or a worker for the railroad. Even then, do so with the utmost caution. Your life could depend on your decision.”

© James Samdavid1 Fullington
April 4, 2002

The above write was based on a true story. The names and some locations have been changed. The accident did occur as written.





Frank had loaned his old Chevrolet beater to his son, Brad to take his girl friend out to a movie. Brad was just barely seventeen and had been driving but a short time. Brad was so excited and wanted to impress his girl friend Rita, by taking his dad’s car and driving her to the movie. He didn’t care what was showing, he just wanted to be able to act like a man and drive a vehicle, taking his girl out on their first date.

After the movie was over, Brad decided to stop at Richard’s Drive-in on Cicero and Touhy. The usual teenage crowd was there and everyone was having a blast. After all if you had a vehicle and you had a girl, then you were with the in-crowd. Brad was in, without a doubt.

Tommy Jackson, the local blow-hard, was there in his hopped up Vette and was, as usual, spinning his tires in the parking lot. It seems like there is always one in every crowd. Brad thought that Tommy was just a smart ass and didn’t pay any attention to him, or his shinny new Vette. Rita on the other hand seemed to be excited by Tommy’s good looks and his beautiful Chevy-Corvette. Now this got Brad’s attention and he was starting to fume as he watched her stare and smile at Tommy as he would slowly drive by and then slam the car into low and squeal the tires across the parking lot, laying rubber as he fishtailed out onto Cicero Avenue.

Then it happened. Tommy slowed down as he came back around again and seeing Rita smiling at him, stopped his car, placed it in neutral and walked up to her side of the car that Brad and she were sitting in.

“Well hello beautiful, wanna go for a ride in my new Vette?” “Brad do you mind if I take a spin with Tommy? Please, pretty please?” “Rita if you want to take a spin with this jerk, then you just go ahead and do it.” “Thanks honey, I will only be a minute. We will be right back.”

Tommy and Rita raced out of the parking lot together and the car turned sideways a couple of times as Tommy goosed it squealing and spinning the rear tires as they sped down the busy street in Lincolnwood. Brad was fit to be tied. Here he was out with Rita on their first date and she had just dumped him for the rich kid with the Vette.

Rita and Tommy returned after about twenty minutes and she gave him a quick kiss on his cheek before she got out of the Vette and started towards Brad in the parking lot. Brad wanted to back his car out of the parking lot and leave without her, but he was taught to respect his friends by his parents. She was his responsibility and he would be taking her home, regardless of anything that she may or may not have done while out on a date with him.

They didn’t talk very much as Brad neared Rita’s house in west Wilmette, just a few blocks from his own home in the Village of Winnetka. Because of his distraction and thoughts about Rita riding in Tommy’s car, Brad didn’t see the van backing out into the street. Before he could react he had slammed into it broadside. Luckily neither of them were hurt, nor was the elderly lady that had backed out of her driveway directly into Brad’s path. He was driving below the speed limit when the accident occurred and no tickets were issued after the Police completed their investigation of the crash.

Brad had to call his father and tell him that he had an accident and the old Chevrolet was being towed to Irv’s Standard Station at Winnetka and Green Bay Road. It was not drivable as the right front fender and hood was pushed up against the windshield due to striking the van. “No dad, no one was hurt. I am so sorry that I wrecked your car.” “We will talk about it when you get home, do you need a ride son?” “Nah, I am only three blocks away, it will be one of the longest short walks that I have ever had to make.”

Frank and Donna were concerned about Brad, but not in the least regarding the old car that hey had owned for so many years. “ A car can be replaced, but a life, now son that is very different.” His mother had told him, after she saw that he was not injured.

The next morning things were very different in the Larson household. Frank had always jumped in his car and drove down to the Kenilworth train station to catch the eight-fifty into Chicago. He would drive down and park it in the assigned spot in the Chicago Northwestern parking lot, feed the meter and walk across the tracks just in time to board the train. He had been doing the same routine for the last fifteen years, just like clockwork. “I could do it in his sleep”, he had said to a fellow commuter once as they talked together on the way into work while riding the train.

Donna had to slip on her robe and slippers in order to take Frank to the train. She was already upset due to the sudden change in her schedule. She was going to Chicago today on a special assignment for the Chicago Trumpet Newspaper. She had been doing a piece on the Martin Luther King assignation and they wanted her to come downtown this morning. She was in the bathroom trying to get dressed when Frank had remembered that his car had been crashed the night before and now he was going to miss the train. “Honey could you please hurry up, I am going to miss my train.” “Okay, okay just let me slip on my robe.” She still had not put on her underclothing, but by wearing the robe, no one would be the wiser.

Donna and Frank approached the red lighted intersection of Park and Green Bay and Frank told her to sneak through the intersection by making a right turn. After sneaking through the red light they pulled up within two feet of the train crossing gates, just west of the tracks on Kenilworth Avenue. The red lights were flashing for the train and the gates were down. There was a northbound train sitting in front of the train station and was just starting to pull out. Frank knew that the Chicago eight-fifty would be coming very soon and told Donna to go around the gates. “But Frank!” “Just do it, Donna. I am going to be late now.”
Frank knew that there was no danger and the gates were only down because the northbound train was still sitting in front of the train station.
The witnesses that were at the train station and the ones that were sitting inside their own vehicles could not believe what they were seeing. Frank and Donna drove around the gates and started across the train tracks blind to anything that may have be coming from the north.

What neither one of them saw was the express train that hit them broadside while traveling at a speed of over seventy miles an hour pushing their vehicle more than one mile, and finally coming to rest against a telephone pole at the next train crossing in the Village of Wilmette. It took the Fire Department and Rescue Squad over one hour to cut them out of the wreckage. The twisted and torn bodies of Frank and Donna Larson had been mangled so badly that even the people that knew them could not identify them.

It was without a doubt, something that I will never forget as long as I live. I was working for the Kenilworth Police Department and one of the first officers to respond on the scene after the call went out.

“Never, ever, go around crossing gates once they are down, unless so directed by a law enforcement officer or a worker for the railroad. Even then, do so with the utmost caution. Your life could depend on your decision.”

© James Samdavid1 Fullington
April 4, 2002

The above write was based on a true story. The names and some locations have been changed. The accident did occur as written.



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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 2/23/2003
sad tale
Reviewed by Shelly 4/10/2002
Ouch. I'm not sure I'd go out like that but WOW. Great write
Reviewed by Shelly 4/9/2002
what a way to die. Better late than dead on time.

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