A 67-year-old Crete woman suffered minor injuries after a speeding Amtrak train slammed into the front of her 2005 Volvo station wagon, which was trapped inside the crossing gates on Harlem Avenue about 2:40 p.m. on Feb. 20.

Police say Cathy J. Griesmeyer was heading south on Harlem Avenue when her car became stuck on the tracks because of heavy traffic in front of her and behind her vehicle. While waiting on the tracks, the grade crossing gates activated and the gate shut behind her.

Griesmeyer was able to reverse her vehicle somewhat off the tracks, but not enough to completely escape being struck by the Amtrak train, which was barreling through the intersection at 71 mph.

The train hit the front of the station wagon, ripping off the front end and spinning it clear of the tracks.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if Ms. Griesmeyer had not been able to back up even in the slightest fashion that Riverside police would be investigating a fatal accident,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

Griesmeyer, who was taken to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn for treatment, was cited for unlawful stopping at a grade crossing. Her dog, a 4-year-old Shih Tzu named Tuxedo, also suffered minor injuries. 

No one aboard the Amtrak train, which was carrying 113 passengers and a crew of 11, was injured.

—Bob Uphues