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Loyola University senior dies after falling on 'L' third rail

A 21-year-old man Loyola University Chicago senior died after touching the electrified third rail at a Rogers Park CTA Red Line station, according to authorities. 

The man, John Versnel, of the 6500 block of North Lakewood Avenue, was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston about 1:30 a.m. after falling from the platform at the Loyola CTA station.

Versnel was a senior at Loyola University, Robert Kelly, Loyola's vice president for student development, said in a statement on the university's Web site.

The victim was a CTA customer who was standing on the edge of the northbound platform of the stop a little before 1 a.m. when he lost his balance or moved too far on the platform and fell onto the tracks, said CTA spokesman Brian Steele.

The person made contact with the third rail, Steele said.

Police believe the fall was accidental, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. Alcohol may have played a role in the fall, authorities said. 

Power was shut down on the Red Line, with shuttle buses running from Addison to Howard, for about 45 minutes, with full service restored about 2:30 a.m., Steele said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday. Services are pending, according to the Loyola statement.

Versnel's was the 10th CTA rail death this year. In 2011, nine people died in CTA rail incidents.

RedEye reporter Tracy Swartz contributed.

pnickeas@tribune.com
Twitter: @peternickeas

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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