Tinley Driver of Car in Oak Forest Metra Crash Left Note

Donna Grace, the driver of the car hit by a Metra train Thursday afternoon, left what some sources have construed as a "goodbye note," but the granddaughter of one of the victims said, "There's no way."

The driver of the car hit by a Metra train Thursday may have left what could be a "goodbye note," NBC reported Friday.

But Tinley resident Gayle Larsen, the granddaughter of Gail Crabtreee, 97, who was a passenger in the car said, "It absolutely was not a suicide note."

"I have answered two calls from (Gail's) great-grandchildren who were in tears when they had heard on the news that this was a supposed suicide," said Larsen, who lived with Gail. "That's not what it was."

Investigators say it appears that 81-year-old Donna Grace, drove herself and Crabtree 97, around the lowered gate and directly into the Metra train. Both women died when their car collided with the train.

The contents of the note have not been disclosed, but NBC reports that a source close to the investigation said, "It was clearly a goodbye note."

Larsen said the note, which was written to Grace's son, was calling him to task.

"I think if that note meant anything, I think it meant that she finally decided that if he didn't shape up, he could ship out," she said. "They're saying it was a goodbye note? No. Not unless he was leaving the house."

Cameras inside the train indicate that all lights and gates at the crossing were functioning, said Metra spokesperson Meg Reile. The car was not on the tracks as the train approached, Reile said. The footage shows all safety systems functioning as intended, Reile said, followed by the point of impact, which derailed the front car of the train. A witness recounted that the car exploded on impact with the train.

Check back with Patch for more information as this story develops. 

AC July 22, 2011 at 06:28 PM
If this is true that this was an action that was taken by the driver on purpose, this is an incredibly selfish act that jeopardized (and traumatized) the lives of dozens of people. Sickening.
K French July 22, 2011 at 06:30 PM
WOW! I can't say enough but wow.
Carrie M. July 22, 2011 at 07:21 PM
I hate to say it, but I said this morning that I thought this was an intentional act. I made a crack about Dr. Kavorkian not being available. How sad... and how irresponsible to endanger the train passengers. My heart goes out to the women's families.
Sox Fan July 22, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Severe dementia or intentional: The note leads me to believe it was intentional. Rest in peace.
Annette Thorn July 22, 2011 at 08:21 PM
This makes a good argument to have someone like Dr. Kavorkian. I don't know the circumstances of their lives or their medical history Sometimes things get so overwhelming that you just don't think you can go on. But there is nothing so bad that you have to take your own life and in this case endanger so many people. It also leave the people left to try and wrap their heads around it. Its amazing more people were not hurt. I am sure that was not their intention. They were in the wrong place at the right time and made a bad decision. May they both rest in peace and I am sure many people will miss them.
Joan Bravo July 22, 2011 at 08:43 PM
It saddens me to see so many people who have to speculate on what caused this tragic event. I've seen so many mean spirited comments today. It doesn't matter how old they were or what caused them to be on the tracks. The families and friends of these ladies must be devastated. My heart breaks for them all. May you find peace and know that they live on in your hearts. My thoughts and prayers for all that loved these ladies. RIP Ms Grace and Ms Crabtree. God Bless you all.
Carrie Frillman July 22, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Hi Annette. Thanks for reading Patch. We'll be posting a story momentarily about the women, so you will know more about their "lives and medical history." Hope you're well. Way to keep the conversation rollin' :)
Carrie Frillman July 22, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Here's the latest, guys. Thanks for keeping up with Patch. http://patch.com/A-k1JR
Deb Melchert July 22, 2011 at 09:45 PM
My gut tells me the family's version of a note to her son is correct. Family said it was a note to her son telling him to shape up or ship out, so she was saying goodbye to him if he didn't change his behavior. I have a hard time believing that anyone that age would commit suicide, especially in that manner, and take an innocent person with them and endanger others at the same time. Just my hunch.
Deb Melchert July 22, 2011 at 10:01 PM
Has anyone considered that the driver may have suffered a medical crisis that caused her to drive through the gate and into the train? Hope they find a definitive answer that gives the families some closure.
Jack Steen July 23, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Deadbeat son still living for free with Mom ? I don't care how "healthy" the driver seemed - with the stress of a deadbeat leeching off her good nature, she could have had a medical emergency that caused her to black out. Too bad the 97 year old went out like this.
Russ July 23, 2011 at 04:12 PM
I think your assuming a lot when you say "Deadbeat Son".The man was living with his mom. Personal reasons ,maybe his mom needed company or help,home foreclosure,divorce.Whatever .My great aunt gave me a "correction" for not visiting her often enough and she was right.If she passed away after that note it would be a coincidence and not a suicide and I would have felt bad for not putting in time with her,my point is often times we get corrections from our elderly relatives,it is part of life.Please, don't jump to conclusions ,especially when families are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Terri July 23, 2011 at 05:02 PM
AC is right. If this truly was a suicide, it was incredibly selfish as these acts always are. It's a discussion. We are allowed to speculate. It's human to look for answers. They thought they could survive because they didn't have a huge car?!
Joan Bravo July 23, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Of course, people will speculate about this tragic accident, but it mean comments that have been made at multiple outlets are unnecessary and very insensitive to the family members trying to cope with losing their loved ones. The investigators may or may not find out what caused this to happened, but does it really matter? Two ladies are gone and nothing will bring them back. My thoughts and prayers continue to go to the families.
Megan July 25, 2011 at 05:07 AM
I have personally worked with Donna in the past. There is no way she had left a suicide note and took hers or someone else's life. The comments on here are rude and inconsiderate of her friend's and family's feelings. Donna was sweet and caring. She always had a smile on her face. This is a tragedy and needs to be further looked into to get these details straight. That is a very confusing intersection with 2 nearby stop lights. She could have been easily confused. To call her selfish is awful. RIP Donna, you were a wonderful coworker and an even more wonderful person. RIP Gayle.
phillia Mitchell July 28, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Those of us who have known these dear Christian ladies, know for certain that this was not intentional. Maybe she hit the wrong pedal. You can't believe what the news is so quickly to report. They don't care if they smear someone's character.
Britcoy July 31, 2011 at 03:13 PM
i have also worked with donna in the past. She was such a sweetheart & a very caring lady, always smiling at everyoNe. She would not take her & a friends life like that. this was not an intentional act, but an accident . Dont listen to what the news says,they have to find a way to keep the story going. RIP Donna, my mom & I will always remember you from LNT as the sweetest lady around. RIP gayle, both of you ladies will never be forgotten


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