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Man hit, killed by Amtrak train

By Shara Park | Posted - Mar. 3, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A man was killed after being hit by a passenger train early Thursday morning.

Police dispatch confirmed the accident involving a 33-year-old man and an Amtrak train in the area of 60 South and 800 West in Salt Lake City. The train was carrying passengers at the time of the accident, around 2:30 a.m.

Lt. Craig Gleason with the Salt Lake City Police Department said the man killed was a pedestrian attempting to cross the tracks and beat the train.

The crossing arms were down at the time.

"The people driving the train actually saw him," Gleeson said, noting that the conductor did not believe the man was going to cross the tracks. He told police that by the time the man darted out in front of the train it was too late for the train to stop.

"The train wasn't moving that fast and he suddenly decided to make a dash in front of the train, and he just didn't make it and was killed," Gleason said.

The train had just left the hub and was only going about 15 to 20 miles per hour, but it was the force of the impact from the sheer weight of the train that killed the man.

Gleason said the passengers did not witness the accident happening, "but they certainly witnessed the aftermath."

After the impact, the man's body was dragged and left at the side of the tracks right in front of the passenger windows.

Police say there was a slight odor of alcohol on the victim, but pending further investigation they do not know if that was a factor in the accident.

"If that was one beer or 10, I just don't have that information," Gleason said. "It will be something we get from the medical examiner's office later."

The victim's identity has not yet been made known while next-of-kin is notified, but police believe the man lives very near the area.

"We have an address within a couple blocks from here that we're trying to follow up on and see if we can find someone who knew him," Gleason said.

They say they think he was returning home from picking up takeout food from a restaurant on North Temple when the accident occurred.

By 5:30 a.m. the scene appeared to be under control and the train began to move back to the hub in Salt Lake City. Just before 6 a.m., the train again passed the site of the accident, headed west to continue its intended journey.

"The police department has everything it needs. We've collected all the evidence we can," Gleason said. "We've finished, unless there's some follow-ups based on the evidence we collected."

It is possible Amtrak will conduct its own investigation.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

Shara Park

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