Chicago-Area Rail Chief Takes Own Life
Beleaguered Philip Pagano steps in front of commuter train
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2010 5:15 PM CDT
Conductors give an all-clear sign after dropping commuters from a METRA passenger train at the Vermont Street station in Blue Island, Ill., April 23, 2008.    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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(Newser) – The head of the Chicago area's commuter rail system, who had been placed on leave last week as Metra investigated allegations that he paid himself a $56,000 bonus without authorization, committted suicide this morning—by walking in front of a train from the system he headed. Philip Pagano, 60, left behind "a letter indicating his intentions," the local sheriff said.

The Cook County state's attorney's office had said yesterday Pagano was also under criminal investigation, the Tribune reports. A federal probe was also in the early stages, according to the Sun-Times. Just before 8am, Pagano stepped onto the Metra tracks in Crystal Lake, facing the oncoming train. With less than 10 seconds to react, the train couldn't be stopped. "The engineer looked right into the eyes of the man," said the sheriff.