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Elderly driver rescued moments before train smashes into car

LOMBARD – The actions of two Lombard residents and a Lombard police officer Jan. 14 helped save the life of an elderly woman whose car was stuck on the train tracks near Grace Street and St. Charles Road.

Officer Dan Herrera responded to a call of a car on the railroad tracks at the intersection of St. Charles Road.at approximately 8:15 p.m., according to a news release from the village of Lombard.

Upon arriving, Herrera saw the car on the tracks and two residents who had left their own vehicles to assist the driver.

The driver, Antoinette Lazarra, 96, of Burr Ridge,was reported missing earlier that morning by her family. She was driving a 2006 Lincoln Zephyr east on St. Charles Road. When she attempted to make a right-hand turn on Grace Street, she lost control of the car and drove onto the tracks, the release stated.

Stephen Spapperi, 19, of Lombard, was driving north on Grace Street, approaching the intersection, when he saw a car lose control and drive onto the railroad tracks.

Justin Mueller, 24, of Lombard, was driving behind Spapperi and also saw the car drive onto the tracks and get stuck. Both residents exited their cars to assist the driver before police arrived.

Herrera, along with Spapperi and Mueller assisted Lazarra out of her car and off of the tracks.

Moments later, a Metra train traveling westbound, collided wwith Lazarra’s car, according to the release.

The driver of the vehicle was treated at the scene by Lombard paramedics. She appeared disoriented and was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital for tests and observation, the release stated.

“It’s nice to know that we still have people that act when others are in need," Lombard Police Chief Roy Newton said in the release."I truly believe that they helped save a life this day. “These are both Lombard residents, and I’m very proud of our town. Lombard is a community that cares about its neighbors and that’s evident with this situation.”