Violence against Metra conductors is rare
By Beth Kramer firstname.lastname@example.org April 18, 2013 12:31PM
Before departing the Libertyville station, a conductor climbs aboard a Metra train. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: May 20, 2013 6:06AM
Violence against Metra employees is rare but not unheard of, according to a Metra spokesman.
In the last three years, there have been 20 battery cases against Metra employees. Three of those cases were aggravated battery, meaning there was an aggravating factor such as a weapon, battery committed against an elderly person, in public transit or some other aggravating factor was in effect.
Two of the three aggravated battery cases happened in Lake County, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.
Matthew Padour of Libertyville was convicted of one incident that occurred at the Libertyville station April 5, 2012.
Charges are pending against another Libertyville man, Robert O’Leary, for allegedly throwing a bicycle at a Metra conductor at Lake Forest station Dec. 21.
Three battery incidents were reported in 2010; 10 in 2011 and seven in 2012, according to Metra data.
“The number of incidents is small, given that Metra provides more than 300,000 passenger trips every weekday and each conductor interacts with thousands of riders each day,” Gillis said.
Nine of those who committed the batteries were sentenced to probation. Five battery cases were dismissed, one is pending in court, one has an outstanding warrant, two no warrant/arrest were made and the status of two battery cases is unknown, according to Metra data.
Padour, 31, received the harshest penalty of all the battery case resolutions in the last three years. Padour was sentenced to 24 months of felony probation. The second most severe penalty was 12 months of probation for an offender in a Hazel Crest battery, according to Metra data.
The battery data does not include incidents on the Union Pacific North line from Chicago to Kenosha and Burlington Northern Santa Fe line from Chicago to Aurora because Metra does not own or patrol those lines, Gillis said.