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Man seriously injured after turning in front of TRAX train

Published January 3, 2012 4:35 pm

Car crashes through crossing arms, hits train, seriously injuring driver.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A TRAX train collided Tuesday with a car that crossed down guard arms in West Jordan, seriously injuring the car's driver.

The accident in the intersection of 8600 South and 3200 West happened at 9:23 a.m., said West Jordan police Sgt. Drew Sanders. The Dodge Neon was traveling east on 8600 South, parallel with the train. At the intersection, which has a stoplight, the car turned right, crashing through the guard arms and into the train.

The 29-year-old male driver — the car's only occupant — was seriously injured and taken to a hospital. His injuries did not appear life-threatening, Sanders said. Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash, and police were investigating why the driver turned into the train.

The guard arms appear to have been down for about 15 to 20 seconds when the car driver turned into them, said Gerry Carpenter, spokesman for the Utah Transit Authority.

The train normally would have been traveling between 55 and 60 miles per hour, but the train driver saw the vehicle and was able to apply the emergency brake, slowing the train to about 40 miles per hour, Carpenter said.

"A train can come from either direction at any time. It's important to observe the safety rules at every crossing," Carpenter said. "These trains travel very quickly and can't stop and can't swerve."

The intersection is the same where 15-year-old Shariah Casper, of West Jordan, was killed by a TRAX train in June while trying to walk across the tracks with a friend.

TRAX trains last year were involved in 13 accidents, including five fatalities.

Tuesday's collision was the first incident of 2012.

smcfarland@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sheena5427