WATCH: Utah trooper saves unconscious driver just before train hits car
Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com
Published at | Updated at
CENTERVILLE — When Utah Highway Patrol trooper Ruben Correa approached a car stuck on the FrontRunner tracks with a train bearing down early Wednesday morning, he knew he had just seconds to get the unconscious driver out of the car.
“At that point, I actually wasn’t really thinking. I was just doing my job,” Correa said Wednesday.
Correa got the driver out mere seconds before a northbound train slammed into the car, throwing it at least 30 feet ahead on the tracks, video of the incident shows.
No injuries were reported in the incident, which took place about 6:50 a.m. Wednesday on the FrontRunner tracks between Pages Lane and Parrish Lane in Davis County, according to Utah Transit Authority spokesman Carl Arky.
Correa was on a traffic stop on northbound I-15 in Farmington before he responded to the area on a call of a car on the tracks, he said.
He used his spotlight to locate the car and told dispatchers when he found it on the southbound side of the freeway. He then got out of his patrol vehicle, ran over to the car on the tracks and opened the door, noticing the unconscious driver still inside, he said.
Then he heard the train’s horn; it was rapidly approaching the car. He dragged the still-unresponsive driver out of the car and onto the embankment next to the tracks, dashcam video from his patrol car shows.
If Correa had been just a second later, there would have been a much different outcome, he said.
“That’s when I realized, ‘Oh wow. That was a lot closer than what I would have liked,'” he said.
The driver, who was not identified, is safe and with his family now, Correa said. He had an unknown medical issue prior to the crash, according to Correa.
“I’m still trying to process everything that happened,” Correa said later Wednesday morning. “I’m just very grateful that I was able to get him out and he’s alive and he’s back with his family now.”
Correa said he was able to talk to the driver, and he was grateful that both he and Correa made it out of the situation OK, the trooper said.
Arky initially said a Union Pacific railroad employee pulled the driver out, but later clarified that it was actually a UHP trooper.
A bus bridge was put in place for FrontRunner trains between Woods Cross and Farmington, Arky said. As of 8:15 a.m., the bus bridge has been canceled, according to a tweet from UTA. Residual delays are still possible in the area, the agency said.
Traffic on southbound I-15 was also impacted by the situation, with the right lane of the freeway closed, according to Utah Department of Transportation. By 10 a.m., the scene was cleared and there were no delays reported in the area, according to UDOT.
Contributing: Tim Hughes and Amanda Dickson, KSL Newsradio; John Wilson, KSL TV
This story first appeared on KSL.com. It is used here with permission.