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TRAX train hits SUV in Murray

By Shara Park and Randall Jeppesen, | Posted - Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

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MURRAY — The driver of an SUV was injured Tuesday when he turned into the path of a TRAX train. Witnesses said the driver went around crossing arms.

The train hit the SUV around 8:30 a.m. near the TRAX station at 5900 South and 300 West.

Witnesses said the SUV was traveling parallel to the tracks before turning east on 5900 South, where lights warned drivers that a train was approaching. The train hit the SUV, which caused it to roll along the tracks for at least 100 feet.

Jose Weffer, a witness of the crash, said he and the train conductor both honked at the SUV before the crash. Afterward, Weffer rushed to the driver, who pulled himself from the SUV.

"He had a huge gouge from his forehead all the way to the back, so the skin was open," Weffer said of the man's injuries.

By the numbers
UTA train collisions
Year-to-date: 5
Pedestrians: 2
Drivers in warning gates: 3
Fatalities: 1

January and February: 6
Total: 31

Fatalities: 5

The SUV's driver was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

UTA police said the crossing arms were down at the time of the accident.

Delays were reported on the Blue/Red TRAX lines because of the crash and a bus bridge was in place. Frustrated passengers were forced to wait for the bridge.

"Everyone was very angry. There was one lady that said, 'I'll yell for everyone here,' " said passenger Carolyn Sandstrom, who was an hour and a half late for work.

"It's pretty frustrating. I'm missing a whole lot of critical information in my class," said passenger and student Maddie Fugate.

UTA said the accident is the fifth TRAX incident in 2013. Three incidents involved drivers accidentally or intentionally driving in front of a train while the warning arms were down.

"A lot of this does come down to personal awareness and personal responsibility to be careful on the roadway," said UTA Police Lt. Mike Thiede.


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