Train Reaction Crash

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last Friday, a collision between a South Lake City train and a car started a series of events that ended in a second, related accident, landing three people in the hospital.

The TRAX train was traveling east around 8 p.m. on Friday, and struck a vehicle that had crossed into the train's path.

Amazingly, the car's driver was not killed in the impact, despite turning left across the train's path. The 27-year-old woman and her car were dragged 300 feet before finally stopping. Firefighters had to cut open the car to remove her, but she was conscious when she was taken to the hospital. The accident occurred on the University of Utah Campus.

UTA procedures in the matter are clear. The TRAX operator is to be given a test for drugs and alcohol, and will be on paid leave until the university police complete their investigation. While there were people traveling on the train and the accident was quite serious, nobody was hurt and the delay was minimal.

"Those trains are so big and heavy, people on board would only have felt a bump," said a UTA official.

Shortly after the impact, a UTA truck responding to the accident ran a red light, which caused the second accident. It ultimately lead to a four car pileup on the eastern and southbound lanes in the area.

UTA trucks are equipped with warning flashers, but they are yellow, not blue and white emergency lights.

The trucking accident was caused when the truck was hit by a northbound car, which threw the maintenance vehicle into another car in the left-turn lane. The fourth vehicle rear-ended the turn lane car a moment later.

Five people were injured in this secondary accident, two of whom were taken to nearby hospitals with minor injuries. The other drivers were able to be treated at the scene instead of requiring hospital attention.

UTA has said the driver will be cited for violating the red light and causing the accident.


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