Doting grandmother, ‘devoted’ sister, loyal friend, 72, killed in Clarendon Hills BNSF Metra crash: Family – Chicago Tribune
A Metra passenger killed Wednesday morning when a BNSF train crashed into a broken down truck was a loving grandmother, mom to three ‘very, very strong girls’ and a devoted sister and friend to many, according to the son of Downers Grove’s wife, 72. place.
Christina Lopez, 72, of Downers Grove, was killed in the Clarendon Hills crash, according to the DuPage County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, according to the office.
“It was obviously an extremely sad and tragic experience,” said Jeff Klonowski, his son-in-law.
The BNSF 1242 train, which originated in Downers Grove, collided with the truck around 8:10 a.m. Wednesday on Prospect Avenue, killing Lopez and injuring four other people, including two passengers who had injuries that were not considered life-threatening. their lives at risk, according to the coroner’s office and Metra spokeswoman Meg Thomas-Reile.
Lopez, or “Chris”, was the mother of three “very, very strong women” and adored her five grandchildren. She had ten siblings and was “devoted” to all of her sisters, one of whom she was on her way to visit at LaGrange when the accident happened.
“They were very close, very tight,” Klonowski said.
She regularly watched over Klonowski’s three children: two girls aged 6 and 4 and a 2-year-old son, sometimes several times a week.
“She would take the kids out every Monday and babysit them as needed,” Klonowski said. “She was on call for fast deliveries. It is very hard for them. »
Lopez had been divorced for many years and lived in downtown Downers Grove. She grew up on the North Side, mostly in the Lakeview area, notably near Southport Avenue and Roscoe Street.
The pride of her life was her daughters: Josephine, her twin sister Olivia and eldest, America, whom she raised as a single mother while working hard in cleaning services for most of her career, Klonowski said.
Lopez retired about five years ago and moved to Downers Grove to be near family.
Lopez was a terrific cook. One of his best was chicken tacos with fried tortillas.
“She made a really nasty potato salad,” Klonowski said, adding that no one could come close to how she cooked.
She was “resilient” and the “glue” of the family, guiding loved ones through celebrations, tragedies or disagreements, he said.
“We were so lucky to have Mother’s Day with her. We had most of the extended family. It was a fabulous time with siblings, cousins and aunts. We didn’t know what was going to happen. pass later this week.
“We were lucky to have this weather,” he said.
As they realize it was a tragic accident, Klonowski thinks it didn’t need to happen.
“It could have been avoided. We want answers, but more importantly, we want to help make a difference so no family has to go through this again.
Train 1242 had not been on its normal schedule and was running express to Union Station at the time, due to a mechanical failure involving another train.
“He was speaking out. … It didn’t stop at Clarendon Hills,” Thomas-Reile said. “They were dragging out some of the serve, I’m sure, to catch up and get everything back to normal.”
Wednesday’s crash happened at a railroad crossing just past the Clarendon Hills train station at 1 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills Fire Chief Brian Leahy said a box truck about 30 to 40 feet long had stalled on the tracks.
The train’s engine was at the rear, so a wagon was the first to ram the truck, flipping it on its side and causing it to burst into flames.
“He knocked down some of the railroad signal gates, and that thing was all involved in the fire,” Leahy said of the truck. “It exploded – even damaging a few cars in the suburban lot.”
It was the second fatal passenger incident in Metra’s history.