Three days each week, Morgan Strand would leave her home on Herrick Road to catch the 8:15 a.m. Metra to downtown Chicago. Tuesday, June 21, was no different. She left home to meet two friends at the Harlem Avenue Metra station for the quick trip to work into the city.
But just after 8:15 a.m. that day, she was struck by what was described as a slow-moving westbound Indiana Harbor Belt freight locomotive. According to Scott Waguespack, Berwyn city spokesman, the 38-year-old Strand was standing inside the lowered railroad crossing gate on the Berwyn side of Harlem Avenue at the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks at the time.
Both Berwyn and Riverside emergency units responded to the scene, and Strand was transported by Riverside Fire Department personnel to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where she died of her injuries the following day.
Waguespack said that Berwyn police, who are investigating the incident, have released few details, but stated that they consider it an accident.
Strand was an attorney at Cassiday, Schade and Gloor in Chicago, specializing in appellate law. Born in Oak Park, her family moved to Florida, and Strand grew up in Sarasota. She graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., and received her law degree in 1990 from Loyola University in Chicago.
Following her graduation from Loyola Law School, Strand served as a clerk for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Bilandic, working with him on both the Illinois Appellate and Illinois Supreme courts.
She is survived by her husband of almost 10 years, Jeffrey Strand, and two children.
Strand is the second local woman killed at a Metra crossing in the past month-and-a-half. On May 10, a Brookfield woman was struck and killed by a commuter train as she stood inside the railroad crossing gate at Prairie Avenue and the BNSF tracks.
A witness at the scene said the woman was wearing headphones and may not have heard the train coming. That incident was ruled an accident by the Cook County Medical Examiner.
Visitation will be on Friday, June 24 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Ivins Funeral Home, 80 E. Burlington St., Riverside. A funeral service for Strand will be held Saturday, June 25 at 3 p.m. at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 116 Barrypoint Road.
In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated in memory of Morgan Strand c/o Creative World Montessori School, 1250 W. Goodman, LaGrange, Ill. 50525.