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Islander College Student Dead After Falling on Tracks

Loyola University student John Versnel died early Saturday after he accidentally fell from an elevated train platform and stumbled onto an electrified rail, killing him instantly.

Islander John Versnel, a senior at Loyola University in Chicago, died tragically early Saturday morning when he fell off a Chicago elevated train platform and onto an electrified rail.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Versnel was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston at 1:29 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Minutes earlier, police said he fell onto the tracks at the Loyola Red Line station near the university.

Chicago Transit Authority spokesman Brian Steele said he believed Versnel had lost his balance or moved too far on the platform and fell onto the tracks, according to the Chicago Tribune. The death was caused, Steele said, by making contact with the third rail and not by a moving train. Police also believe the fall was accidental. Another report suggested he’d been out with friends earlier that evening when he exited a train at the station, bumped into a pillar on the platform and stumbled onto the electrified third rail.

Versnel attended St. Monica's Parish School from kindergarten through 8th grade, then attended nearby parochial school Seattle Prep in Seattle, where he graduated in 2009.

He is survived by his father and mother, John and Suzanne Versnel and younger sisters, Margaret and Annie, all of Mercer Island.

(Ed. Note: This article was updated with new information and edited for clarity.)

T. September 17, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Dear Versnel family, I am so deeply sorry to learn of the very tragic loss of your beloved son, John.
Dan Stevenson September 17, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Dear John, Suzanne, Margaret, and Annie. I have not stopped thinking about or praying for each of you for one single waking moment since Saturday...Dan Stevenson
Stephanie Vassau September 17, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Dear Versnel family, I am simply heart broken for your family at the news of the loss of your precious son. The Vassau family is sending many prayers your way.
Pam Richmond September 17, 2012 at 08:47 PM
So very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with your family. Pam Richmond
Amy Scarff September 17, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Dear Versnel Family, We are deeply sorry for your loss. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. The Scarff Family
Monica Howell September 18, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Dear Suzanne and Family, Our thoughts and prayers are for you. Robinson, Monica, Eugenie & Jeremy Howell
Hal Quinn September 20, 2012 at 07:00 PM
John, Suzanne, Annie, and Margaret, Terri (Hildebrandt) and I were prfoundly saddened to hear this news. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out ot you in this difficult time. Hal Quinn, MD
Chris Schofield September 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Suzanne, John and Family. We are so sorry for your loss. You have been in our thoughts and prayers and I know that no words can express what you are truely feeling. John was a wonderful person. He will be missed by many. Chris, Caitlin, John and A.J. Schofield.
Laurin Schweet September 23, 2012 at 09:27 PM
John, Suzanne, Annie and Margaret, I am heartbroken by the news of your son's death. By all accounts, he was bright, funny, and loved by all who knew him. May you be sustained and comforted by family and friends, and by the memories of a young man who will always be in your heart and your soul. Laurin Schweet

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