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  1. #1

    Default Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: Illinois.

    This past Saturday, October 23 at approximately 1 am I received a ticket for "Pedestrians cannot cross while bells are ringing and / or lights are flashing" at a railroad stop.

    I will preface after all the hassle, I just want the situation to be done with and might just pay the fine rather than contest. However, I just wanted to consult with those much more well versed in the laws whether the entire procedure was exactly right. Recap below in case the story is unnecessary.

    At 1am, I hopped off the last Metra train leaving Chicago in Lombard, IL. I got off the train, only to realize after crossing the tracks on the pedestrian crossing that my friend didn't get off with me. I'm from Virginia, do not know what his address is, nor do I have his phone number besides in my phone, which had decided today was the day to die early. Realizing the situation I turned back and began to cross the tracks as the bells and whistles began going off and the train moved along its way. I threw my arms in the air, cursed, and walked away.

    I made my way down to a bar by the railroad tracks and began asking for a charger. A few minutes later the police arrived and stated that I wasn't under arrest or receiving a ticket, however I would need to go with them to the police station. Along the way I explained my situation, and how I had gotten separated from my friend, no means of transportation, no address or even a phone call.

    Once at the station the officer brought out his personal charger and allowed enough charge for my phone to turn on, called my friend, and let him know where I was and promptly hung up. He then refused to allow me to use his charger to figure out his address.

    I sat around in the lobby for an hour and asked again for the charger and was denied, and was told to "sit down and shut up." I sat around for another 15-20 minutes, and then walked outside the station for some air. The officer stormed out the door after me, grabbed my jacket and yanked me back into the station, stating, "What the ****! That's ****ing it, you're getting that ticket now!" He then proceeded to write me the ticket. He also let me know that he was including that I needed to make a court appearance. Another hour+ of waiting in the lobby and my friend made his way from 20 miles in the wrong direction after falling asleep in the upper rows of the train, and we went back to his apartment.

    Sunday I decided to go to the station to ask how much the ticket was, and if there was anything I could do considering I am back in Virginia and it would cost me well over $500 to fly back, cab to the court, and come back to Virginia. They not only couldn't answer whether or not the latter was a possibility, but even how much the ticket was. Today I called the District Court, as the station advised on Sunday, and they could not answer either, and stated that in their system it "may" not be a required court appearance and I may be able to pay online.

    Is it just me or does the whole thing seem a little shady? I've never been arrested for anything so I have no experience with the process.

    To recap:

    1. Can an officer decide to give a ticket for an offense an hour or more after the offense occurred?
    2. Can I be detained against my will at the station if I am not being held on any charges?
    3. Does anyone know what the fine might be for the crime?
    4. Are there any procedures I can follow that would allow me to either pay the fine without needing to go all the way back to Illinois?

    I apologize for the long post, and thank anyone in advance for any insight they could provide. I'm really glad I found this forum board!

    Best,
    Twist

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,034

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    1. Can an officer decide to give a ticket for an offense an hour or more after the offense occurred?
    hour? definitely. Week, yep. Year, well, you have to draw the line somewhere.


    2. Can I be detained against my will at the station if I am not being held on any charges?
    not legally. Either you are under arrest or you are free to go. sounds like you had been arrested.


    3. Does anyone know what the fine might be for the crime?
    4. Are there any procedures I can follow that would allow me to either pay the fine without needing to go all the way back to Illinois?
    those two I can't help with.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    hour? definitely. Week, yep. Year, well, you have to draw the line somewhere.
    Thank you for that piece of information, I didn't know!

    not legally. Either you are under arrest or you are free to go. sounds like you had been arrested.
    Was I under arrest though? I was specifically told that I wasn't going to receive a ticket or be charged with anything, but that I'd need to wait at the station for my friend.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,034

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    well, if the physically detained you, there were arresting you. Whether they had a right or not I do not know as I am not familiar with the law in question.

    I am wondering why you were even brought to the station. That seems an odd action.

    is there a statute or ordinance number on the ticket. somebody may be able to find some information on what you were charged with with that info. Be sure to indicate if it is a state law, city ordinance, or something else if you can determine that.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    JK, I apologize for the late response. Thank you again for your help!

    "People state of Illinois Vs. " is checked off, instead of "City/Village of Lombard."

    "ILCS" is checked off instead of "Local Ordnance"; SEC: 5/11-1101
    Nature of offense: "Pedestrians cannot cross while bells are ringing and/or lights are flashing"
    Rep. No. 10-39480

    Also I forgot to mention that there is an individual bond amount listed and checked off, however I wasn't required to pay anything before I left. When I asked him about it, he told me to quit asking questions, and another officer suggested that he should "take that ticket back and cite him [me] for refusing to sign."

    I've been searching for ILCS 5/11-1101 and I've had no luck at all. The closest I've found is http://law.onecle.com/illinois/735ilcs5/11-101.html and if you visit the site, you'll see that it goes up until 11-110 but there is no 1101.

    The website has now been updated with my case - count description is "PEDESTRIAN DISOBEYING BRIDGE OR RAILROADSIGNALS." There's no court date, location, time, or balance due amount listed yet. I'll be sure to update if that changes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    9,175

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    It should be "5/11-1011" (not 1101)... Which is listed under Chapter 625 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which is under the Illinois Transpotration Act.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    Quote Quoting That Guy
    View Post
    It should be "5/11-1011" (not 1101)... Which is listed under Chapter 625 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which is under the Illinois Transpotration Act.
    Thanks for that, no wonder I couldn't find the damn thing online.

    From that site:

    (c) No pedestrian shall enter, remain upon or traverse over a railroad grade crossing or pedestrian walkway crossing a railroad track when an audible bell or clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device is operational giving warning of the presence, approach, passage, or departure of a railroad train or railroad track equipment.

    (d) A violation of any part of this Section is a petty offense for which a $250 fine shall be imposed for a first violation, and a $500 fine shall be imposed for a second or subsequent violation. The court may impose 25 hours of community service in place of the $250 fine for a first violation.

    (e) Local authorities shall impose fines as established in subsection (d) for pedestrians who fail to obey signals indicating the presence, approach, passage, or departure of a train or railroad track equipment.
    So if I read this correct, I was accused of part (c), walking across a pedestrian walkway when the bells and whistles were going off. Part (d) states that it is a $250 fine for the first offense, which it is for me. What exactly does part (e) say on top of that?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    it just says that the local cops must apply the same penalties.

    the one question though: were the arms down or lights flashing or bells clanging when you started to cross? If there was no advance warning and when the signals did signal and you expeditiously got off the tracks, I would think you would have a reasonable defense to the ticket. Obviously the exact circumstances will determine if that is a viable defense or not.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    1,995

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    Your experience reminded me of a disturbing video I saw on YouTube a while back, and then repeatedly shown on TV.

    Scene was a suburban train station, train stopped at a station, passengers getting off, preceeding to the end of the train, walking across a pedestrian crossing to the parking lot on the other side.

    Scene continues, bells ring, and lights start flashing, with pedestrians continue to cross, one person, then two, and three, and when the fourth person entered the track going the opposite direction, a train blocked from view by the train in the station, going the opposite way flying down the tracks, ran the woman over.

    Following scenes were not shown, as it was indicated there were body parts all over.

    The police was interviewed, and they indicated people do this all the time, and they'll have to step up enforcement, even though people were unhappy with the enforcement. Passengers interviewed said they usually ignored the bells because often it rings, and no trains would come up.

    So I can say the police is trying their best to prevent a tragedy.

    As to your predicament, did you use the bar association to contact any local attornies who can go to court in your stead rather than having to travel all the way back?? And I doubt they'll extradite you from VA for such a violation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    533

    Default Re: Pedestrian Crossing a Railroad Crossing Ticket

    In Illinois, does the police officer need to witness the act?

    Did the police see you cross? Or did this get reported as "drunk guy wandering on the tracks" and they found you at the bar??? (Note, I do not care i you were drinking or drunk) Decided to haul you in for you own protection, or just for the heck of it, then got annoyed and figured they'd cite you just for the annoyance factor to you....

    Who witnessed you alleged illegal act?

    A

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