Metra chief Phil Pagano dead in railway suicide

Phil Pagano, executive director of the Chicago-area Metra line, has died in an apparent suicide after walking in front of a Metra train.

Pagano was due to attend a hearing today to examine financial irregularities regarding his pay, including an alleged unauthorized bonus for $56,000. (Pagano was placed on paid administrative leave on April 30th.) He served as executive director for Metra from 1990, and police say he was killed by the train in his northwest Chicago suburb shortly before 8 a.m. today. The engineer of the train spotted Pagano but was unable to stop the train before it hit and killed him. None of the 27 passengers or employees on the train were injured in the incident.

Found in Pagano’s pocket was an employee manual detailing how to handle a suicide on the train tracks. Metra released a statement today confirming Pagano’s death, reading in part:

“It is with great sadness that we report the passing this morning of Philip A. Pagano. Phil served this agency with distinction for many years. Today, we shall remember the good work he achieved with our board of directors and the men and women of Metra. He was dedicated to our passengers and he always considered the men and women of Metra his family, and there is a tremendous sense of loss within the agency.”