(Murray, Utah – October 31, 2011)
Another Utah Transit Authority “TRAX” light rail accident put the driver of a tow truck in a Salt Lake City hospital when he followed other vehicles around a lowered crossing gate that witnesses said had been down as long as five minutes.
The accident was the fifth “TRAX” light rail accident so far this year and the seventh UTA accident overall. Lujane Willes, who was in line awaiting either a train or the lifting of the crossing gate at 6100 South 300 West In Murray, UT, said the gates had been down for three to five minutes when the first driver became impatient, thinking the gate was malfunctioning, and drove around it.
The 40-year-old man driving the tow truck, who was merely following other cars driving around the “stale” crossing gate, was badly injured and knocked unconscious by the collision, which split his truck in half, knocking part of it 25 yards down the railroad tracks.
UTA Spokesman Gerry Carpenter said the train’s speed at impact was between 45 and 55 mph, and that the train, which had its first unit derail, had between 30 and 50 passengers on board. The train was on a route from the University of Utah to Daybreak, UT.