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Local News

Crews still searching for missing teen hit by Metra train

Thursday, May 23, 2019,  in Joliet, Ill.
Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Joliet, Ill.

Search crews are still trying to find one of two teenage boys who were struck by a train near Pilcher Park in Joliet, according to Metra and East Joliet Fire officials.

An East Joliet Fire official told the Herald-News on Friday afternoon that search crews were still looking for the teen’s body.

On Wednesday, the teen and Jacob A. Manka, 17, of Mokena, were struck by westbound train No. 419, which was scheduled to arrive in Joliet shortly after 6:50 p.m., Metra officials said.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said there was a third boy at the scene who wasn’t struck by the train because he was on a separate set of train tracks. All three teens were reportedly in the area to meet with a fourth teen who wasn’t on the train tracks, Gillis said.

A train engineer told officials he saw "three kids" standing alongside the tracks before they began to run in front of the westbound train, "like they could outrun it," Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.

The engineer put the train into emergency stopping mode, but he knew he hit one person, she said.

The incident occurred at the trestle bridge over Hickory Creek near Pilcher Park, East Joliet Fire Chief Robert Scholtes said.

Manka’s body was soon found and he was pronounced dead by the Will County Coroner’s Office at 8:14 p.m. Wednesday.

Search crews have been trying since Wednesday night to locate the body of the second teen who was struck by the train, Gillis said.

Gillis said search teams are scanning the creek from various vantage points to see if they can spot anything.

About 100 firefighters were in on the search, mostly water tech teams and divers, Scholtes has said.

"We've looked from the trestle bridge all the way to Briggs Street," Scholtes said. Teams would move farther down the creek as the search continued.

Scholtes said the water is shallow but swift moving because of the heavy rains, so diving was not possible. Water techs trained to work in rough water were in the creek and searching the banks while more help was on the way.

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