(Spanish Fork, Utah – November 9, 2014)
The parents of a five-year-old boy who lived at the Diamond Fork Apartment complex in Spanish Fork, UT are grieving after their son, whose identity has not yet been released publicly, was killed by a southeast-bound BNSF freight train operating on Union Pacific tracks that run behind the apartment complex, as he played with his seven-year-old sister and their seven-year-old male cousin last Sunday afternoon at about 5:30 P.M., MST.
The trio probably entered the railroad right-of-way via the grade crossing at East 400 North, where the Federal Railroad Administration says 10 trains operate daily at a maximum allowable speed of 50 mph. Spanish Fork Police Lt. Matt Johnson said the train that hit the youngster in the vicinity of 1200 East and 400 North was going about 40 mph.
The two older children were able to clear the tracks, but the younger child seemed to freeze with fear and could not escape the train’s path.
Area resident Amanda Larson heard the train go into emergency braking mode and could smell the odor of the burning brake shoes, and ran towards the train crossing where she encountered a female motorist who said she had stopped her car at the crossing and honked her horn in a futile attempt to warn the children to get off the tracks.
Larson and others climbed through the stopped train and located the victim face down in a water-filled drainage canal near the tracks. “We just flipped him over and started to do CPR,” she stated.
The victim was airlifted by helicopter to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Investigators said the three youth were playing at the Diamond Fork Apartments’ playground, but left there and went to play on the railroad. Neighbors told reporters for Fox News Channel 13 that this was not the first time they had seen children, including the child who died, playing around the area of the railroad tracks.