Village officials say they are evaluating whether to install pedestrian gates after a Barrington High School student was fatally struck by a train while walking to school last week.
“As our Village and the broader District 220 community continue to process last Thursday’s accident and tragic loss of life, there has been an outpouring of thoughtful and constructive messages shared with our team by our residents. As always, the Village Board and Village Staff value the input of our community and appreciates the effort taken to share these messages with us during this difficult time,” the Village of Barrington said in a statement earlier this week.
The village said it has multiple rail lines running through the town and that safety at rail crossings has been and will continue to be a priority.
Officials said managing safety at the busy road and rail crossings involves collaboration with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad, Metra, Canadian National Railway, Federal Railroad Administration and the Departments of Transportation for Lake and Cook counties, as well as the Illinois Commerce Commission.
“All of these agencies share a common goal and responsibility of ensuring these crossings are as safe and effective as possible. The Village has a strong track record in working alongside these agencies, consistently advocating for and facilitating improvements that not only enhance connectivity but also bolster the safety of our community,” the village said in its statement.
In the wake of the fatal accident, village officials say they are evaluating opportunities with their jurisdictional partners to install pedestrian gates at the Hough Street and Union Pacific crossing and increase safety signage at railroad crossings.
Barrington School District 220 is also reviewing its rail safety instructional practices and working to share resources for district families and students. The effort will be highlighted during their annual Safety Week.
“Understanding the critical role of education in preventing accidents, the Village is equally focused on amplifying our efforts to provide comprehensive safety information and resources to our residents through ongoing communications,” the village said.
“Tragedies like the one our community experienced last week serve as a poignant reminder of the critical nature of this work. We are committed to continuing to prioritize safety and education regarding rail safety. We mourn with the community and are grateful for the engagement of our community members as we continue to work diligently with our partners to prioritize safety in and around the Village,” the village added.
Marin Lacson, 17, of Barrington, was killed around 7:45 a.m. on January 25 at the Union Pacific Railroad train tracks in the area of Main Street and Hough Street in Barrington.
She was attempting to walk across the railroad crossing when she was struck by a Metra train.
Kyle Kinnamon told Lake and McHenry County Scanner he was the one who called 911 to report the collision between Lacson and the train.
“This was a devastating accident that happened right in front of me on Route 59 before I got to the light at Main Street,” Kinnamon said, adding that the incident was not a suicide and the gates did not malfunction.
Kinnamon, who works in Barrington at an office two blocks away from the train crossing, said he watched the “life leave this poor girl’s eyes” as he was on the phone with 911.
“She was walking south and the westbound train had just gone through and she must have assumed that was the only one coming because she didn’t stop at the sidewalk, and as soon as she passed the gate the eastbound train came out of the fog and hit her,” Kinnamon said.
“It was all over in seconds,” he added. A dense fog advisory was in effect at the time of the incident.
Officers and paramedics arrived and confirmed Lacson was dead at the scene, officials said. No one else was injured.
Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Dr. Craig Winkelman said in an email to the school community that Lacson was a junior at Barrington High School who was in the Chinese Immersion Program.
Marin, who was also on the lacrosse team at the high school, previously attended Countryside Elementary School and Station Middle School.
“Please know we are continuing to do everything we can to help the BHS community cope with Marin’s passing,” Winkelman said.
Barbara Floyd, a close friend and one of Lacson’s favorite teachers, wrote a public prayer for Lacson.
Floyd described the girl as a “vibrant, bubbly, vivacious soul” that was full of life and love.
“Her light shines so brightly. She is strong, intelligent, fun loving, loyal, generous and so much more. Her compassion and empathy for others is evident in every act of kindness she has shared,” Floyd said.