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McDonnell sentenced for role in car-train accident

Published: Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 2:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 8:19 a.m. CDT

A woman who was arrested after her vehicle was struck by a train in Mazon Nov. 18 pleaded guilty to endangering the life of a child and driving under the influence.

Suzanne McDonnell, 47, of Joliet, was sentenced Wednesday, Dec. 12, to serve 24 months probation, 24 months of supervision, ordered to attend DUI School and ordered to pay fines and costs as result of the incident.

McDonnell was charged after her blue 2003 Saturn Ion was struck by a train on Grand Ridge Road, one-eighth mile east of Illinois 47.

Two deputies and a sergeant responded to the reported accident involving a train and a car on Grand Ridge Road and, upon arrival, observed a blue 2012 Saturn Ion on the tracks with damage to the passenger side and rear.

The law enforcement officers observed that McDonnell allegedly appeared to be intoxicated at the time.

She said told officers she was traveling east on Grand Ridge Road when a car struck her, spun her out on the tracks and that she and her two passengers, including one minor, exited the vehicle. She could not provide a description or direction of travel for the vehicle. She said the BNSF train next struck the vehicle.

The train’s conductor said the vehicle was vacant and appeared to be stuck in gravel when he struck the vehicle. Another witness said McDonnell was driving and got stuck on the tracks, left, and the train struck it.

No injuries were reported during the accident.

Charges of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and improper lane usage were dismissed.

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