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Near Misses At Metra Crossing In Mokena To Take Spotlight At Citizen Advisory Board Meeting

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Metra's citizen advisory board will discuss malfunctioning crossing gates in south suburban Mokena, after several near misses in November.

The incidents will be front and center when the board meets Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the West Loop.

On Nov. 9, the gates for the Rock Island tracks at 191st Street in Mokena shorted out and were not working properly for more than two hours. Four trains went through the crossing during that time, nearly hitting several cars crossing the tracks.

Metra officials have said the engineer on the first train to pass through the crossing failed to report the malfunction.

The problem first came to light in late December, when dashboard camera video from a Mokena police officer's squad car was posted on Facebook, showing a Metra train nearly hitting is cruiser after the crossing gates and lights didn't activate.

At the time, Metra said no other incidents were reported after that, and the gates were fixed that afternoon.

Last week, however, Metra revealed the gates malfunctioned four times over two hours as trains passed over the crossing, and narrowly missed several cars.

Metra officials said they are reviewing what happened, to make sure engineers met their reporting requirements. Railroad officials also said they are working on corrective disciplinary measures.

"Clearly it was concerning. Clearly it was troubling. Safety is our biggest priority on the railroad," Metra CEO Jim Derwinski said.

Metra asked people to report any gate activation failures they might witness, using the information on the blue signs posted at every crossing.

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