The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 26, 1995, Page 2, Image 2

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Five killed in Illinois
as train hits school bus
Fox River Grove, 111. (AP) — A
commuter train ripped apart a school
bus stopped on the tracks Wednesday
as youngsters in the back rushed for
ward at the sight of 620 tons of steel
bearing down on them. Five students
were killed and about 30 injured.
Some witnesses said the bus was
trying to cross the tracks about 7:20
a.m. when it got caught at a red light
behind a car and couldn’t make it all
the way across. But others said there
was no car ahead and the driver could
have moved forward.
“You could see the terror in their
eyes,” witness Coreen Bachinsky
said. “You could hear the metal, the
glass flying, the screams. It was very,
very scary.”
The bus was taking the youngsters
to 1,400-student Cary-Grove High
School in Cary. The Chicago-bound
express train was traveling between
50 and 60 mph and sheared the body
of the bus off the chassis, spinning it
around 180 degrees.
“From then on out, all you heard
was screaming,” said Andrea Arens,
19, who was waiting for another train.
Four students were pronounced
dead at the scene and one died at a
hospital. Eleven were hospitalized
Wednesday night, six in critical con
Taben Johanson, a 15-year-old
who was sitting in his usual third-row
seat on the bus, said the gate came
down on the back of the bus and there
was a car in front. Then he looked up
and saw the train bearing down on
“I basically figured it out when all
the kids were tunning forward,
screaming,” he said.
Jim Homola, a carpenter driving
his children to school, said he had
been stopped behind the bus and saw
the approaching train. “We started
screaming, ‘Go! Go!’” he said. “It
was over in a matter of seconds.”
Homola said bus driver “was in
hysterics” afterward.
The driver, Patricia Catencamp,
was taken to a hospital for evalua
She was filling in for the regular
driver on the route, students said. The
secretary of state’s office said the 54
year-old woman had been licensed to
drive a school bus since 1987 and had
a flawless driving record.
“There were kids laying on the
ground on the driver’s side of the
bus,” said James Orlandino, a wit
ness. “It looked like they had been
thrown out.”
The crossing was guarded by a
gate, bells, flashing lights and signs,
but there was little space between the
stoplight and the tracks, said Chris
Knapton, a spokesman for Metra, the
agency that operates Chicago’s sub
urban commuter trains.
“It’s the kind of a crossing that
railroaders hate,” he said.
Mark Davis, a spokesman for
Union-Pacific, which employs the
train crew, said the engineer tried to
stop the train. “He slowed down.
Then he applied the emergency brake,
then he got on the hom,” Davis said.
Cathy Monroe, spokeswoman for
Secretary of State George Ryan, said
the school district had a fine safety
record. “They’ve set very high stan
dards for themselves and their driv
ers,” she said.
In the afternoon, cars lined up out
of the parking lot and onto a nearby
highway as people showed up to do
nate blood at Good Shepherd Hospi
tal in nearby Barrington, where some
victims were taken.
Jason Kedrok, 16, was wearing a
hospital bracelet and had bruises on
his face and arm when he showed up
at the accident scene in the afternoon
to look at the wreck he had survived.
“Just looking at it now, I can’t
believe I got out of it,” he said.
GOP gathers support for budget
ing aside a strongly worded veto
threat, Republican congressional
leaders methodically lined up sup
port Wednesday for legislation to
balance the budget, cut taxes and
reshape government.
“We have been waiting 40 years
for this moment,” said Senate Major
ity Leader Bob Dole.
As debate opened in both houses,
Dole announced he was restoring
about $8 billion to Medicaid, which
provides health care to the poor, to
satisfy senators concerned their home
states were being shortchanged.
Speaker Newt Gingrich spread
additional Medicaid funds around, as
well. He also won critical support
from more than a dozen farm state
lawmakers who had been threatening
to bolt over a proposal to phase out
the government’s traditional system
of crop subsidies.
“There’s a bigger picture out
there,” said one of them, freshman
Rep. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in ref
erence to the Republicans’ overall
goal of balancing the budget.
Outnumbered Democrats didn’t
dispute the measure was likely to
pass, but Clinton made it clear he
would veto it. The budget would
threaten Medicare, education and the
environment, he told a news confer
ence at the White House, adding, “If
the Republicans plunge ahead and
pass this budget, I will veto it and
demand a budget that reflects our
He also accused the GOP leader
ship of “economic blackmail, pure
“If the Republicans plunge ahead and pass this
budget, I will veto it and demand a budget that
reflects our values. ”
President Clinton
and simple” for saying they would
refuse to extend the government’s
borrowing authority if the White
House didn’t agree to sign the budget
With final votes scheduled for later
in the week in both houses, GOP
leaders exuded confidence the mea
sure would pass, even though Senate
moderates were still pressing their
demand for more money for educa
tion and other changes.
“The issue now is unanimity”
among Republicans, said Gingrich.
“I think we’re going to pass the bill
on both sides.”
The measure was the centerpiece
of the Republican revolution launched
last January, and the party’s leaders
said it heralded a once-in-a-genera
tion shift in American government.
“It is not quite comparable to the
New Deal, but it is certainly on the
same scale as the Great Society” said
Gingrich, R-Ga., the first Republican
speaker in four decades.
Democrats conceded the sweep
ing nature of the legislation but judged
it harshly and hoped Republicans
would pay a heavy political price in
next year’s elections.
Republicans want to “squeeze the
elderly” to finance “lavish tax breaks
for the wealthiest individuals,” said
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.,
criticizing the GOP-proposed Medi
care overhaul that would raise premi
ums and gradually increase the age of
eligibility from 65 to 67.
“These cuts in Medicare were not
what the election in 1994 were about,
but they are what the 1996 elections
will be about,” he added later. Fo
cused, in part, on next fall’s cam
paigns, Senate Democrats prepared a
strategy designed to force Republi
cans into a series of risky votes on
amendments relating to Medicare,
Medicaid, education cuts and other
politically potent issues.
The legislation would affect vir
tually everyone in the nation. Hun
dreds of billions of dollars would be
carved from Medicare, Medicaid and
welfare, and federal strings would be
loosened on the states in a variety of
social programs.
The Commerce Department would
be abolished in the House bill; both
versions called for higher fees for
visiting national parks.
The proposed tax cuts would total
$245 billion over seven^years, and
include a $500-per-child break on
income taxes and a reduction in the
levy on profits from investments.
Managing Editor Rainbow Rowell Night News Editors Julie Sobczyk
Assoc. News Editors DeDra Janssen Matt Waite
Brian Sharp Doug Peters
Opinion Page Editor Mark Baldridge Chad Lorenz
Wire Editor Sarah Scalet Art Director Mike Stover
Copy Desk Editor Kathryn Ratliff General Manager Dan Shattil
Sports Editor Tim Pearson Production Manager Katherine Policky
Arts & Entertainment Editor Doug Kouma Advertising Manager AmyStruthers
FAX NUMBER 472-1761
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Correction: A story in Tuesday’s Daily
Nebraskan gave the incorrect location
for today’s 6:30 p.m. Cockroach Com
bat Workshop. The workshop will be at
the Lancaster County Co-op Extension
Conference Center cm Cherry Creek
Road. Call the extension office for
Correction: A story in Tuesday’s Daily
Nebraskan incorrectly identified the
home state of the band Phish. The rock
band is from Vermont, not the Boston