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Riverside police officers hit residents on train safety before locomotives can

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 10:42 a.m. CDT
(Jerry Moore -
Riverside police officers Mike Panek (center) and Jeff Miller (right) confer with Sgt. Bill Gutschick while enforcing laws pertaining to train safety at the Metra commuter station Tuesday morning.

RIVERSIDE – It figures. As soon as the police show up, everyone decided to behave themselves around trains.

Riverside police officers Jeff Miller and Mike Panek said motorists and pedestrians alike were adhering to laws for crossing the train tracks at Longcommon Road on Tuesday morning. The officers were there as part of the village's enforcement program regarding train safety.

"As soon as people see us here, they obey the rules," Panek said, adding he often observes people breaking the law at the railroad crossing when police officers aren't visible.

Sgt. Bill Gutschick said people do not realize how powerful trains are or how fast they are traveling. Incidents happen most often when pedestrians or motorists rush to beat a train across the tracks or to try and catch a train, he said.

Members of the Riverside Police and Fire departments were at the Metra commuter station last week passing out literature reminding people of the laws pertaining to train safety. Violations can result in a fine of $250 or 50 hours of community service.

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