Dramatic Commuter Rail Crash Caught on Video
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When a Utah Transit Authority (UTA) FrontRunner train crashed through a trailer full of FedEx packages, a North Salt Lake police car was only a few yards away and caught the explosive collision on its dashboard video system. Besides producing dramatic images for local and national news programs, the video also provided a clear picture of what caused the crash: The lights and safety guards at that crossing had not activated, so vehicles approaching it had no warning that a train was coming.
The collision took place around 10:00 a.m. on January 21 in Woods Cross, where the FrontRunner tracks cross 1100 North. The tracks are less than half a mile from a busy FedEx facility, and just before the crash, the video shows a second FedEx truck crossing in the opposite direction. That truck drives clear, but the second truck is struck full-on by the crossing train.
Fortunately for the two people in the cab of the truck, the impact was several yards behind them and they were unharmed despite the semi being twisted around by the force of the collision, which totally destroyed the trailer behind it. Two passengers on the train were treated for minor injuries.
UTA initially stated that they believed the problem to be a malfunctioning signal, caused by wet and snowy weather that day. The gates are designed to go to the down position for safety whenever there’s a problem, and they’d done that earlier in the day.
However, a UTA employee on the scene to investigate and repair the problem had not followed proper procedure and raised the gates without authorization. The procedure would have also had the train reduce speed to 15 mph. Instead, it was moving at 40 mph when it struck the trailer. The UTA employee responsible for raising the gates has since been fired.
Crashes between trains and motor vehicles at railroad crossings, like the one in Woods Cross, accounted for more than 2,000 serious accidents in 2015. Combined, these crashes injured close to 1,000 people and killed nearly 250 that year. The employees in the FedEx truck, or any other driver who happened to be in the crossing when the train passed, could have easily been killed in the crash if any one of the large moving objects involved had reached that point only a few seconds before or after they did.
When you’ve been injured in a crash, regardless of what kind of vehicle caused it, it’s important to have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team on your side to help you recover damages for your injuries. Whether the accident involved a truck or a train, we can help. Craig Swapp & Associates understands both truck accident law and cases involving public transportation, such as trains and buses.
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