Fatality Tracker: Loyola student dies after falling onto tracks and touching third rail


Photo of the Loyola Red Line station by Brandon Bartoszek. 

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 19 (9 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 4 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 7

A 21-year-old student named John Versnel at Loyola University died last night after exiting a train at the Chicago Transit Authority’s Loyola Red Line station, “bumping” into a pillar, falling into the tracks, and touching the third rail. This happened minutes before he was pronounced dead at an Evanston hospital at 1:29 AM.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Versnel was not hit by a train, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. Versnel was a Loyola University senior, according to a statement from the school. The school has informed students of the counseling services available to them, as well.

According to Tracy Swartz there have been ten deaths on the CTA this year, meaning the Fatality Tracker has missed some tragic incidents.

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time and includes only people who died in the Chicago city limits. View previous Fatality Tracker posts.

7 thoughts on “Fatality Tracker: Loyola student dies after falling onto tracks and touching third rail”

  1. Oh wow, this is horrible. I live near Loyola, and this is my train stop. It’s a fairly narrow platform, and I see people near the edge all the time, usually trying to pass slow walkers on their way to the exit. I wonder if something can be done to make the platforms safer. Too many people have ended up on the tracks.

    1. Yeah, I remember getting off there once and being a little freaked out by how narrow it was. I’d never been on a platform that narrow before, though the red line has several I’ve seen since.

      1. Yes — it’s so narrow that you really can’t pass even one person without walking on the edge. I’ve walked on the blue part on the edge many times just because there was no other way to get around someone.

      1. The newspaper article wrote that police said the student had been drinking. I excluded that information until it was found to be a contributing cause of the fall. I haven’t seen that yet. The CTA has a lot of cameras at stations; I wonder if one caught this.

  2. I do not understand how there can have been 10 deaths in the last year without CTA doing something to improve safety at stations like these? Just looking at the picture,it is obvious how narrow the platform is.This station is the main hub for all of the Loyola students. How many more young people have to die until until there are some consequences?

    1. In one Fatality Tracker post earlier this year, there were many instances of horseplay that killed teenagers when they touched the third rail.
      I haven’t set out to verify that 10 people died at CTA stations, but I intend to. I know of only one “fail safe” solution to prevent people from falling on the tracks: platform screen doors. However, these are hardly possible with the current setup of the CTA system. They require automated trains or very precise drivers as the train must be lined up with the platform door.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *