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Eyewitness account of Loyola CTA platform suicide

Further update: Brian, who originally shared this story with us, emailed me to say that Chicago Police have indeed classified this death as a suicide. So sad. Brian's account is below:

A CTA Tattler reader posted a comment here last night with an eyewitness account of the suicide at the Loyola Red Line stop that stopped train traffic for almost an hour last night. Thanks to Brian for reporting the somewhat gruesome details:

Unfortunately, this story has already been seen on news stations... and reported incorrectly until later tonight.

A lady just jumped. I was standing merely 50 feet from her.  The whole thing was surreal, and as of this moment, I don't know if I still fully comprehend what I saw.

I was walking up the escalator to the southbound platform at the Loyola el-stop as I had done hundreds of times before.  Class was out at the University and myself and two friends were discussing a recent study/brainstorming session.

Thankfully, we had made it to the platform just as the Red Line was coming down the tracks. I remember my friend exclaiming, "Good, just in time." I begin walking down the platform.  I look up to see a woman, probably 40 or 50 years old jump to the tracks from the platform. 

She falls to her stomach and is immediately struck by the train.   

She rolled at first, shot forward by the wheel protectors.  And for a split second I thought she might live through her suicide attempt. 

But then, eventually, despite the best efforts of the train operator she was taken under and run over by the trains wheels. 

The train operator was badly shaken when she exited the train, and people in the area tried to console her. The only thing anybody could think was the words that the operator kept screaming amidst her sobs, "She just jumped!"

The vision that will stick with me about this event will not be the badly mangled body that I futilely jumped down to the tracks to try and help.

Instead, it will be the look on the woman's face as she first rolled along the tracks.  The split second between when she was hit and when she was severed in half by the trains wheels. 

She had an expression on her face -- it was almost tranquil.  She was resigned to her fate and was very much ready to leave this world. 

Her suicide was both gruesome and disturbing, however, if you would have guessed by the expression on her face, she seemed least affected by it.  In fact, she never made a single noise during her last moments on earth. It was almost as if she had done this sort of thing before. 

I only hope that this is the last time I see something such as this.  I think the most frustrating part for those in the vicinity was the fact that it happened so fast, nothing could have been done to help until it was too late. 

Comments

Oh my Lord. And to think I was really angry last night waiting and waiting and waiting for a Red Line train. I had no idea.

When I go, I'm going to make sure that I inconvenience and horrify the absolute most people possible.

Who was she? Was she old, young? Did she look like a student? I want very much to know.

sorry...just looked again and saw where she was described as 40 or 50. I used to get on there every day. I was in graduate school there a few years ago, and it was very stressful and lonely, so I kind of wondered whether that might have had anything to do with it.

That had to have been one brutal experience, to have witnessed such a thing. Is there anybody at Loyola you can talk with if you feel you need it, or maybe some free counselling available through CTA even, to help handle any ugly emotional backwash?

The Trib is heavily promoting John Kass' investigative series on the nice little boy in Florida who got his sweet doggy back from the evil Chicago lawyer. Kudos to the Trib for blowing the lid off this horrible injustice. This story undoubtedly received such exposure because it affected three people and a dog who live hundreds of miles away in another state. A story about thousands of delayed commuters caused by another tragic death along the red line isn't as groundbreaking. Fret not, weary commuters: there's always the CTA's web site, which is as informative as the train operater I had last night who sarcastically yelled that someone "bit the dust" after a rider asked over the intercom what was happening.

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/whatsnewA.wu?action=displaynewspostingdetail&articleid=131930

Unfortunately the papers not covering it is probably a good thing, as when these types of things appear in the papters it gives others the idea, and there would be more jumpers, further delaying the commute.

Two things:
1) The Trib ran a Sunday Magazine segment some time last year about train suicides (I believe they were only reporting on Metra suicides, not CTA) and one of the reasons they said they tend not to cover them in much detail is to prevent copycats and to respect the survivors (engineers/family). It was a good article - I don't know if it's in the Trib online archives or not.

2) As a commuter, these were my irritations:
a) The conductor kept coming on and saying we were stopped due to a "blockade of trains," and "we'll be moving when we can." Yeah, we get it. We've been sitting here just south of Fullerton for half an hour, no-one new has gotten on the train, and you're not giving us new info, so why keep making announcements?
b) Why can't the backed up trains pull into a station and sit with the doors open? At least then we can choose to get off and try to catch a bus or a cab or even walk home for goodness' sake? I eventually got on a Purple Line train at Belmont, but by then it looked as though things had cleared up.

I don't necessarily need to know what the "emergency" is, but it would be helpful if they could give the conductors some indication on when things will clear up (even if it's "it looks like we'll be standing for ten minutes" or "half an hour" or "a moment or two"), and give us an "out" by sitting at a station with the doors open, rather than between stations where we're trapped. And when we do pull into a station, let us know if we'll be moving at normal speed from then on, or if we'll be sitting again between stations after we pull out.

I was on the train directly after the one the woman jumped in front of and there was this guy on his cellphone -- was it you, Jim? He was complaining, loudly and ardently, because he was going to be late for his dinner reservations. He said, "This is the worst day of my life."

This was AFTER there had already been an announcement about the "medical emergency" (as the conductor called it) at Loyola. I wanted so much to tell this guy that if this was the worst day of his life, he's one lucky bastard. I didn't, because I didn't want to ignite an already-tired and hot car full of people, but I hope that guy is reading this right now. A woman mired in the depths of despair ended her life and he's worried about his dinner. Boo!

The CTA could have handled this better, but we could all be more patient too.

That incident is completely horrifying. I hope the CTA has good grief counseling services, because that operator is never gonna be the same again. The incident was completely not her fault, but I know how I would feel if I was driving my car and someone did the same thing. Condolensces too to all of the witnesses.

As for the CTA's (lack of) communications and procedures when these kinds of things happen, that continues to frost my arse. I was on the inbound Brown Line train that struck a Purple Line train between Sedgwick and Chicago on a Friday morning back in August 2001, and we sat for a good 90 minutes with no word from the operator or the crews that came to the tracks. (We finally pulled up to Chicago Avenue and unloaded.)

I called CTA and complained bitterly after that and was assured that they were working to improve their emergency communications. Three and a half years later, they still have a long way to go.

Note to Jim:

My train was at Sheridan, and the driver kept the doors open, and informed riders there were shuttle buses on their way.

It's quite probably that there already was a train parked at the station nearest you. So your train couldn't have backed into it.

In general, my driver did a good job of keeping people informed about what was happening. He made maybe 6 announcements -- one every five minutes or so -- about what was happening.

So Steve, I would say the CTA has made improvements on communicating stuff to riders, but certainly they can still do better.

Does anyone know around what time this happened?

Between 5 and 6 pm, by my estimation, based on when I boarded the train and when we started moving again.

My northbound train was stopped at 5:15 pm, and we started up again at about 5:45. But southbound trains still weren't running at that point. (The train that hit the woman was southbound.)

Would you really want counseling services from the CTA?

It happened at about 5pm. I know because I thought I had missed the train at Loyola, but little did I know about that, It was not until I got all the way up on the playform that I saw the operator shaking and heard about the woman. What bothered me even more, was that bodybag they brought out. I never saw so many students quiet down so quickly when that bodybag went into the "paddywagon" headed to the morgue. It goes to show how lucky eveybody is just to live one more day. It was a sad day in my life, and I pray for all those involved, including myself, for witnessing the horror.

My heart goes out to that operator. (Never thought I’d write that.) Very sad.

CTA could have done a better job with giving us information. Our operator led us to believe the problem was around Addison. I didn’t find out it was Loyola, or have any real clue as to what was going on until we cleared the subway and I got some cell signal. That’s when I decided to bail and try my luck with a bus. I had been on a train from the Loop for around 40 minutes at that point (6:30?). If I’d had clearer information sooner I could have hopped off at Clarke/Division and saved myself another 40 minutes or so.

I tried to take it in stride. I got a lot of reading done. It was pretty stressful and some folks weren’t taking it well (obviously, “worst night of my life”, yeesh). CTA could certainly improve planning for this kind of interruption.

Ehh...no, as a matter of fact. Point taken, and thank you, Beth. I would surely as hell, however, want CTA to PAY for counselling, at the very least, for that train's poor operator, and to give her a week or two off -- with pay! -- to recover.

I would hope, too, that anybody on the Loyola platform who witnessed the event and is suffering any backlash beyond the initial shock can get some help (perhaps, for example, the Loyola students can talk to somebody on campus?).

What makes me most upset is how someone could say, "Gee...if I committed suicide I wouldn't interupt thousands of people. That ruined everyone's day."

If one person had interupted her day and shown her kindness or a reason to live, that would have never happened in the first place.

One person could have made the difference in her day, so don't be selfish that one person affected thousands of our days. We should be so lucky that one person could make such an impact to show us how precious life is and how we have a reason to live. She did not have a reason to live.

I was fortunate to have left work early (4:30ish)on Thursday and my northbound train was minimally affected. We must have started and stopped 12 times between North/Clyborn & Fullerton, which is really not that unusual.

Tragic elements respectfully aside, the CTA really, REALLY needs to improve communication between train operators and the staff located at the stations. Why were some people so well informed & others left clueless? Does the CTA not establish standards for informing passengers of delays? The recorded messages are almost useless in situations like this one.

I had a terrible experience last year on the red line when an electrical fire shut down one of the tunnels. We received ZERO communication from the operator & our train sat for minutes at a time or moved only inches. By the time I was frustrated enough to get off at Clark & Division, the CTA employees upstairs were already ushering passengers into shuttle busses. The train operator said NOTHING for the 30 minutes we were trapped underground.

Suicide is a selfish act. While I agree that the comment about "interupting people" was a little harsh, it rings true. I would be surprised if this poor lonely woman had absolutely no one in her life. Somewhere, someone is greiving her - even if it is just the eye-witnesses. Someone has to be pretty much locked into their own mind not to think of how their death might affect those around them. I'm not just talking about the hundreds of us who had to find an alternate way home. I'm talking about the people who saw it happen and will haunted by that thought for the rest of their lives. I'm talking about the friends and family she left behind. To commit suicide is a cowardly act. It takes much more courage to find a reason to live on. While it saddens me to know that this poor woman has passed, it still strikes me as completely selfish.

trying to speculate why the woman did what she did is fruitless. she could have been suffering from a mental illness and to call her 'selfish' does not show respect to that possibility, or to the family/friends she may have left behind.

I agree with Peggy, but again since I've been here (Chicago) 90% of the people I encounter are selfish, ill-mannered and rude, so this is not a big suprise to me.

The following website is a great resource for people wondering about suicide and suicide prevention: www.preventsuicidenow.com.

Last night's commute was annoying as heck, and the worst part of me wants to have no sympathy for this woman and the way she disrupted everyone's evening. But the better part of me knows she probably wasn't thinking beyond the moment she would die. Having lost one of the most important people in my life to suicide a few years ago, I know from experience that anyone is vulerable under the right circumstances -- and those who are truly suicidal are not thinking in terms of the ramifications of their death to other people.

Sorry to get on my soapbox, kids -- I just see an opportunity for enlightenment and hopefully the information on the website will help understand this act which would be unthinkable to most of us. Peace -- C.

peggy, I don't think anyone was calling the woman "selfish" - just the act of suicide. No disrespect intended here, but the woman was driven to a selfish act for reasons unknown to us - but it was still a selfish act.

i'm sorry that you feel that way about chicago, RA.... i would hardly say that about chicago. i think that most people are friendly. i think chicago is a big small town in a lot of ways. most people i know have transplanted themselves here from smaller towns in the midwest, and have the good parts of small town values with the better parts of city liberalism.

people go out of their way to give directions, help with dropped purses, heavy packages, and generally are a midwestern bunch with "moral values" in a urban setting.

it's one of the reasons i love this place so much.

i don't know where you're originally from, or who all the grinches you have been running into are. yes, this is a big city, and there are a fair share of shitheads, but i think on average, we do pretty well.

If one may ask (and if you're watching the string of comments here), Brian: did you give a statement to the police about this? Your account does sound as if the lady suicided -- yet I see that the update on top mentions a "death investigation" and nothing about a suicide. Surely the witnesses told the cops what they saw...?

Well Jocelyn, not the people I've met, and this can be anyone from some empty headed (in Chicago, say it isn't so) person on the street , to people I regularly do business with, within Chicago.
I have quite a few friends , both Americans and non-Americans who live in Europe, and the people are better mannered, cultered and don't act like children.
There are exceptions, my best friend and his wife live in the Bridgeport area, and he was born and raised here, but wants to leave, as he is getting tired of it. He's Chicago all the way (family are city workers..cops, fireman, etc.) Anyway, people don't understand suicide (I guess how can you fully understand it as the reason will always vary), but people here either don't want to know or are in a rush to get home so they can watch their reality TV.

This is tragic, yes. I feel for her, and more still for her friends and family.

Having said that, I am SO PISSED at the CTA for their crappy communication systems. We were on the Purple Line and were told there would be shuttles at South Blvd--they didn't say WHERE these shuttles might go, only that they existed. Now I read that the alleged shuttles only ran from HOWARD. We waited at South for 15 minutes or so, then walked to Howard to catch a 22 Clark downtown, which--being rush hour--took forever. Whatever. Not my point.

This was after Wednesday, in which I had another transit adventure--some "switching problem around Lake and Wells" which somehow meant that trains backed up to SEDGWICK--and then the operator said the 37 Sedgewick bus would go downtown from there...so I waited, and waited, and waited for 40 minutes, only to have a Sedgwick operator going in the OTHER direction inform me that no, there were no 37's running downtown at that time. Could the CTA perhaps just get their shit together a LITTLE bit?

I drove to work today, as I'd like to get home before 8 PM just ONCE this week.

In response to Lady T: Yes, I did. I filled out a form with name, phone number, address, description of what occurred, etc.

I too was caught in the aftermath of the switching problem Wednesday night and then the suicide Thursday night. Fortunately, because extensive experience with CTA delays I was able to keep my cool. I knew just what to expect - no communicaiton, inching along trains, lots of CTA workers standing around the platforms doing nothing. Last night reminded me of the delay in 2004 caused by the fire near the Belmont stop that was lit my a cokehead CTA employee, although I guess the timing of last night's was worse - smack in the middle of rush hour. As the years go by, the pattern persists. The CTA apparently has no strategy to deal with these situations from a communications (keeping passengers informed on and off of the trains, updating their website) or operations standpoint (clearing jams of trains, standing at stations instead of between stops) whether the cause is a simple mechanical problem or something worse, like last night. Or, if they do have a strategy it is a complete failure. Really, I think it would have been better last night if they had just shut down the Red/Brown/Purple lines for an hour to clear things up. That would have given many a chance to do something to get home besides stand on a crowded train. BTW, I often run (jog) home from the loop to Wrigleyville to squeeze in some exercise. It takes about an hour at a leisurely pace. Last night it took me 1:15 to get home on the Brown. That's hard to swallow.

The CTA frequently overcommunicates useless information or undercommunicates useful information. I'd be willing to bet that thousands of people would not have been inconvenienced yesterday evening if a sign, human being or announcement let them know there was a problem on the Red Line. If a rain storm flooded the subway tunnels downtown tomorrow morning, my friendly Berwyn station attendant would still watch me click through the turnstyle on my way downtown. I wouldn't know anything was wrong until I'd already borded the train, proceeded three stops and stopped and started for twenty minutes between Wilson and Sheridan listening to the ATTENTION! WE ARE EXPERIENCING A DELAY announcement several dozen times.

again, RA... i think there's a big difference between saying Chicagoans are all empty-headed, reality TV watchers and then trying to compare the experience of living in America to living in Europe.

i've never been abroad myself, and i definitely agree that a lot of europeans enjoy a better way of life a lot of the time.

however, i don't think this means that all chicagoans act like children. if you want to talk about the differences between america and europe, that's a whole other debate/discussion.

but, i just hate to see someone paint chicago with such a broad brush. sorry you're having such a bad time. i love this city. i think we have a lot of great minds, great culture, great places for dining, entertainment, sports, relaxing, and much more. and i do think the people are really pretty cool.

just my .$.02,

Okay, I can understand how my trip home from Randolph/Wabash to Kimball was delayed on Wednesday. There was trouble at the Loop interlock. But Thursday? How can an incident at Loyola back up northbound Brown Line trains all the way to the Mart or further? Of course the CTA told us nothing about what was going on. Just a garbled broadcast on the platform intercom at Sedgwick. No one could really hear it. I feel sorry for the guy in front of me whose iPod died 15 minutes into the ride...

To Joclyn,
I too never have been abroad, but would leave this place in a NY minute. I speak more than one language so if the opportunity arose, I'd leave.
I mean this, I am glad you've met good people here, while I run into a**holes. If I were

hey r.a., this is a big, beautiful city with lots of wonderful people. you must just have bad luck, i hope it doesn't follow you wherever you go.

>>How can an incident at Loyola back up northbound Brown Line trains all the way to the Mart or further?

This is an example of the CTA's poor logisital handling of the situation. Apparently the Purple line was blocked or otherwise delayed by the problem (even though they are are separate tracks they likely share power at the Loyola stop). The Purple shares with the Brown from the Mart north to Belmont. From an outsider's perspective it seems that the Browns should have been allowed to continue with relatively little delay. This may have required routing some Purples towards Kimball to avoid a jam. This does not seem to have been done. It appears that the CTA simply jammed up the entire northbound system because of an incident at a single point near the far northern end of the line. My experience has been that this is they way they do things (or "don't" do things). There has got to be a better way.

i'm sorry, but i just can't feel any pity at all for this woman. selfish, selfish act of self destruction that ruined a lot of people's evenings.

the CTA might not handle these situations very well logistically. chicago i think is a great city.

but i really gotta say i'm stunned at the reaction of a few who will just chalk this up as a selfish act and dare to compare a human life with the inconvenience of some commuters on a random february day.

yeah, that must have sucked -- VERY temporarily. must really have sucked to have a mental illness or a frame of mind that led the woman to decide that she needed to end it all.

must even be MORE painful to be the train conductor that now has to deal with the aftermath.

suicide and mental illness and possible other factors such as addictions are real, and i think it's fairly selfish to think that a night's commute is more important than a person suffering in the world.

What is up with Chicago's public transit system! We have the second largest system in the nation and its severely mismanaged that its an embarrassment. Poor communication, most CTA employees are rude and unprofessional. Many L stations are in major disrepair and service cuts are pretty much likely to happen due to the mismanaged budget. It’s a shame!

Regarding questions about why this unhappy event shut down service north of Belmont due to this suicide:

Hey braniacs, you have to turn off the power for the third rails for the safety of the emergency workers--firemen, cops, emts--who are on the tracks trying to save someone or remove the remains. You cannot just run the Purple Line on the outside tracks, since a worker may stumble or fall and hit the third rail. Then you have two dead bodies to deal with.

And to anyone who is mostly concerned over the inconvenience--get some perspective. Your commute was disrupted. Boo hoo.

Sorry, but it looks like my post was cut off. I was trying to post on my way home (via a cellphone) I guess it didn't take. I'll post the rest whether it matters or not...


To Joclyn,
I too never have been abroad, but would leave this place in a NY minute. I speak more than one language so if the opportunity arose, I'd leave.
I mean this, I am glad you've met good people here, while I run into a**holes. Again, I am glad you think this city is beautiful, but I think it's a toilet, and I would never come back here again. Maybe this subject just struck a nerve, as I have also known people who died in this manner, and there were far from cowards. Just extremely bright, good people, a rarity in this city, anyway let me post this last post and leave it at that, just another day in Chicago.

as an addendum ....to Bill; good for you.

I happened to know the woman who committed suicide. She suffered from scizophrenia and was in and out mental hospitals and on medication. Unfortunately, recently she seemed better. But with this disease, it can attack the person suddenly and cause them to commit suicide. The sad thing she left behind a family--a husband and 3 children (from 9 to 14 years old)who are grieving terribly. No name can be given. Please pray for this family.

The rail operator's health benefits include both at least a limited number of therapist visits through the CTA's confidential Employee Assistance Program, as well as up to 20 psychiatric visits through the medical plan.

Depending on the plan she selected, there may also be coverage for hospitalization if needed.

When I saw the story on TV my heart went out to all of those there and all of those inconvenienced. When suicides happen on CTA it impacts all of the people working there and try as we might it impacts us as people, from the other operators on trains following the blocked train who may have gone through the same thing, to those in the control center who have so many years of experience on the system that they almost certainly have.

Seeing someone die in front of you and being helpless to stop it, in such a violent way, is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to someone. Yet the possibility is there everytime a rail operator pulls into any station. Fortunately, most people are sane and want to live and realize that tomorrow is another day and that as bad as things are *now* things can get better.

There are some things you can do to protect yourself and others while waiting for the train.

Stay awake! Don't nod off and let yourself get too close to the edge of the platform. This woman may have jumped, but some deaths are caused accidentally. Don't be one of those. Stay well back of the edge.

NEVER sit on the edge of the platform with your legs hanging over the sides.

NEVER go down on the tracks to retrieve something. Notify the customer assistant if something or someone has fallen on the tracks so that the 3rd rail can be shut down. Trains come into the station faster than you think. In most, but not all stations, operators have a straight on view and plenty of time to stop if someone is on the tracks, but, people panic and could hit the 3rd rail IF they know what it is. NO ONE is authorized to be on the tracks but trained CTA employees.

While I'm on the subject, peeing on the 3rd rail is a really, really bad idea. Salt water is an excellent conductor of electricity. The 3rd rail carries enough power to move an 8 car train full of people.

Watch out for those around you. If you see someone staring at the tracks with a lost look on their face, ask them if they are O.K. If they seem out of it, or lost, you might consider calling 911 on the pay phones that should work in each station. Or dial *1 and ask for the control center and tell them about the problem. This only works in the stations.

Those who said the communications should be better are absolutely right. CTA goofed. On behalf of those who should have said so, I apoligize for your inconvenience. What should have happened is that the operator in each train should have said something on the order of "We have a passenger emergency blocking a train ahead and expect a significant delay, you may wish to transfer to a bus route to save time". It may be possible that the operator was not told the nature of the emergency. But they should have been.

However, this is one of those cases where you get back to the fact that CTA operators and employees are people dealing with a pretty grim situation that they can envision and imagine better than most of us.

The guy who made the smart crack may have had a similar incident while driving a train himself in the last year or so and was having trouble handling his emotions about it. Not an excuse. He needs retraining.

I guess the final thing to say is that with public transportation, the public has a really big impact on how well it works, both good and bad. You see that in all the stories printed here. From the creeps who expose themselves to the nice people who go out of the way to give directions. CTA is what we make it.

With 1.5 million trips a day and a staff that the Illinois Legislature whittles away year after year, it becomes increasingly important for the public to do what it can to do things like this. Observe and talk about what you see happening on CTA. Use your cell phone to call police or CTA if something bad is happening. Take a picture of that panhandler and mail it in. Report that phone that isn't working to 1-888-your-CTA.

Call your state legislator and remind him/her that CTA is important to you. Sorry if I sound preachy. Suicides hit close to home. I have that woman's family in my prayers too. And the people who saw it first hand too. And the employees who could have done a better job that day in getting everyone home faster, or at least, let you know a little more about what was going on.

On february 12th, I witnessed someone jump from the top floor of the doubletree hotel on deleware ave. I heard it was a 16 year old girl, but have not seen or heard any news reports. anyone hear about this? I am having a very hard time dealing with what I saw, maybe I'm crazy to try to get more information, but I cant get it out of my head.

Folks may laugh at CTA Guy's warning not to take a pee on the third rail, but its so true. 10 years or so ago, some poor guy relieved himself on the 3rd rail of the Brown line near the Kimball Ave. stop, where the tracks are at street level. He died. I think his family sued. They lost.

If your train operator doesn't make an announcement when you think they should, call it in. Note your railcar # (or the head car w/ the operator if you can), the line, direction of travel, and estimated location and time of day, and call 1-888-your-cta. These do get funneled into the operator's record, and it only takes a couple of times for a lazy operator to realize that they will get called on it. You can help improve the system, it's yours, after all.

Sorry, Jada, but I think that the family that filed suit in that case, and I was thinking of it when I mentioned it, won that suit and received at least a million, or more in our dollars.

If I remember clearly the basis of the suit was that CTA had not posted a warning not to urinate on the tracks in Korean! Absurd.

He had managed to stumble onto the tracks over the wooden barriers that look like this ^^^^^^^^ at grade level that make it very difficult for someone to walk onto the tracks. Somehow he managed to do it. This put him very close to the 3rd rail when he chose to do his business. But there is so much power in the rails that I don't think anyone wants to take the risk that an extra 8 feet of clearance would provide any protection at all.

Another CTA Guy is also right. The more information that goes into CTA's new Customer Service databases and then to the terminal staffs, the better the service can get. But it has to be specific. Times, dates, directions, car numbers for it to be tied to a person.

Thanks for riding CTA.

To those who were curious, or any Loyola students that may have witnessed what happened, there is counseling available on campus, in the Wellness Center.

A few belated replies:

***I was on the train directly after the one the woman jumped in front of and there was this guy on his cellphone -- was it you, Jim? He was complaining, loudly and ardently, because he was going to be late for his dinner reservations. He said, "This is the worst day of my life."***
Good god, no! A) I don't own a cell phone; and B) if I did, I wouldn't use it (aka "yell into it") on the train as so many do. It certainly was not the worst day of my life. I failed to make it clear in my post that my irritation was more with my conductor's/CTA's handling of the situation than with the fact that I was delayed.

***The CTA could have handled this better, but we could all be more patient too.***
I've been pretty patient with the CTA for many years, as I do not own a car, and I do own a monthly pass. I'm accustomed to small (say 5-15 minute) delays, and they don't usually get me down. I am a committed CTA rider (for various reasons: environmental, financial, convenience, etc.) A very large percentage of the time (97%? 99%?) I get where I need to go in the amount of time I expect to get there, and I'm generally not a CTA complainer.

But the lack of communication during this kind of delay seems fairly common, and I would like to see some changes (for example: trying to keep trains at stations with the doors open; announcing that delays will be significant and one might be better off trying to catch a bus when a train *does* pull into a station; etc.)

As a CTA veteran, I know which buses can get me home from almost any Red Line station - had I known that the delay would be as long as it was (and I think it should have been communicated to all conductors that it was sure to be a lengthy delay), then I would have been able to hop off and get home in a different manner. "A CTA Guy" above said: ***What should have happened is that the operator in each train should have said something on the order of "We have a passenger emergency blocking a train ahead and expect a significant delay, you may wish to transfer to a bus route to save time".*** Precisely the kind of information I think we should be given.

My getting home late one evening is a small concern compared to the grief of the primary people involved in this occurrence; I know this. But the larger problem of inadequate CTA communication needs to be solved or people will continue to leave the system and drive to work instead.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Eyewitness account of Loyola CTA platform suicide:

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