HARVEY, Ill. — Four people died early Wednesday in a south Chicago suburb when an SUV hit a moving freight train at a crossing and caught fire, an official said.

The Dodge Durango struck the CSX train about 2 a.m. at a crossing on the east side of Harvey, a south suburban community, killing the vehicle's four occupants, said Jason Baumann, a spokesman for the city of Harvey.

“It drove into the freight train," he said, adding that the crash remains under investigation.

Baumann said the bodies of the four people were removed from the SUV and would be identified by the coroner.

CSX said in a statement that the vehicle carrying four people collided with the last rail car of a moving CSX train that consisted of three locomotives and 47 rail cars.

“There were no injuries to the train crew. CSX extends its deepest sympathies to everyone impacted by this tragic incident, and we will work to support local law enforcement as they investigate," the company statement added.

He said emergency crews in Phoenix, a Cook County village just east of Harvey, were alerted by a passerby that a vehicle was on fire. He said it wasn't clear if that person had witnessed the crash or had only seen the burning SUV following the impact.

Baumann said it wasn't immediately clear whether or where the train stopped after the collision, but when he arrived at the crash scene about 4 a.m. there was no train at the crossing and CSX workers were replacing crossing gates at the scene.

Subscribe to the Chicago Journal

The Chicago Journal needs your support.

At just $20/year, your subscription not only helps us grow, it helps maintain our commitment to independent publishing.