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2 rival gang members hit by TRAX train during fight


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Two rival gang members are in serious condition after they were hit by a TRAX train Wednesday at the Library Square station (235 E. 400 South) in downtown Salt Lake.

Police say the men got into a fight, and during the course of the fight, they fell in front of the train. They were both hit by the oncoming train, pulled under, and one was dragged for a short distance before the train came to a complete stop at the platform.

"This patient was up against a bumper. Their first plan was to remove the bumper and try to get him out from under that. He never did go underneath the wheels," said Mark Bednarik, spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

The plan worked, and fire crews were able to quickly pull the man out. The other man was able to free himself on his own. Both were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

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One witness told KSL Newsradio, "Oh, he's got a gash from one corner of his forehead to the top of other, and it's lain open. It's, you know, 4 to 5 inches long, maybe a quarter of an inch wide."

"They both have a lot of lacerations all over, all over their bodies, you know, from being drug, from being hit, from being sucked under the train," said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Robin Snyder.

Police say their injuries don't appear to be life-threatening.

"They're very lucky. The train was going really slow because it was going to pick up. One of them was drug for a short distance so they're both very lucky to be in just serious condition rather than critical or even a fatality," Snyder said.

Police interviewed witnesses on scene. When the men who were hit are in a condition to talk, police will interview them as well.

This incident is yet another example of how important safety is on the TRAX platforms.

"When you're at a train platform, you should be waiting for a train. It can come from either direction at any time," said Utah Transit Authority spokesman Gerry Carpenter. "We just can't stress strongly enough how important it is to watch what you're doing, stay behind the yellow line and be safe when those trains are coming into the station."

The driver of the train is now on administrative leave, pending an investigation. That particular train will also be out of service until the investigation is finished. Both are standard protocol in an event like this.

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Story compiled with contributions from Courtney Orton and Becky Bruce.

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