Orland Park school bus, train collision: Hero bus driver escorts children off before Metra strikes bus

A school bus stalled on railroad tracks in Orland Park Friday afternoon and was struck by a Metra train.

The crash occurred at 167th and 109th Avenue.

At about 2:40 p.m., the Orland Fire Protection District responded to an emergency call when the bus stalled on the tracks.

Fire Chief Michael Scholfield said there were no injuries thanks to the bus driver, who quickly escorted the five children off the bus to safety minutes before the Metra train hit the bus.

The children on the bus were from St. Michael's in Orland Park.

"The investigation we did shows the driver stopped at the tracks as required to do so, but when she started the bus to cross, the bus stalled with the front end of the bus over the tracks," Schofield said. "The gate came down on top of the bus and the driver then quickly escorted the five children off of the bus to safety minutes before the METRA train hit the front of the bus."


"When everyone does what they are trained to do, no one gets hurt. We are so grateful for that," Schofield added.

Among the students on the bus was 12-year-old Ava Gentile and her two brothers. Ava says the bus driver, Ms. Sue, quickly got them to safety.

"We all just ran off the bus. I got Jeremy and Joshua, the neighbor and I just told them to get off the bus and go far away," Ava said.

"Just walking up and seeing all three of them was a relief. They were all emotional, very upset. Saw Ms. Sue. Went up to her, gave her a hug. Just thanked her for her response, her actions," said the children's father, Marc Gentile.

Metra is conducting an investigation into the incident.