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Detectives wonder if teen struck by train was listening to an iPod

Published February 4, 2008 1:32 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Layton police detectives hope to learn whether a 19-year-old man, who was struck and killed by a train Saturday, was listening to an iPod music player when he died.

Nathan Lebaron, of Clearfield, was walking northbound about 200 yards from a railroad crossing south of 2200 W. 1800 North at 2:20 p.m. when he was struck from behind by a Union Pacific freight train, said Sgt. Paul Gardiner.

"The engineer said the kid was just walking northbound on the tracks," Gardiner said. "He sounded the horn, but [Lebaron] never turned around."

The engineer "locked up the brakes," but failed to stop the quick-moving train, Gardiner said. After striking Lebaron, the engineer called Clearfield emergency dispatch. Investigation of the incident was turned over to Layton police.

The collision forced the closure of the railroad tracks for four hours as police began their investigation.

Witnesses told police Lebaron seemed to be singing loudly and was swinging his arms before being struck, said Layton police officer Shawn Lewis.

During the investigation, police found an iPod that was still on. They think it may be Lebaron's.

"We are still investigating to see if other factors were involved in this," including whether the iPod was in use, Gardiner said. "That's what it looks like at this time."

Police do not suspect that Lebaron committed suicide, but are looking into it.

Police also warned against using music players when around heavy machinery.

"It's pretty much common sense that when you need to drive a car or are near trains or heavy machinery, that you shouldn't have earphones on," Gardiner said. "It does drown out the other sounds."

"That could have very well been a factor in this case," he said.

Railroad lines are private property and walking along them is trespassing, Gardiner said. The tracks where Lebaron was struck are owned by Union Pacific.

ngonzalez@sltrib.com