(Wellington, Utah – November 3, 2012)
Two Price River Water Improvement District employees narrowly escaped death Friday morning when the water-filled tank truck they were operating was struck and virtually destroyed by a Union Pacific freight train at the non-gated crossing of East 110th Street in Wellington, UT.
“They were lucky,” observed Wellington Chief of Police Lee Berry. “One second later and they would have been wrapped around the train.”
Chief Berry’s assessment was proven 100% accurate due to the inadvertent filming of the entire episode on a bystander’s cell phone video camera. James Wood, whose four-year-old son loves trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine, took a break from work to film the train’s passage for his son, and at the same time produced an amazing visual account of the near tragedy. He offered it to the news media and then posted it on various social networking sites.
Mentioning that there are no crossing gates at the UPRR/E. 110th Street intersection, but mast mounted flashing lights and bells were operational, the Chief refused to speculate on why the driver of the tank truck crossed in front of the train, but said that, in his own experience, he has noted that people become complacent around stop signs and railroad tracks.
The UP rail corridor passing through Wellington carries an average of 20 trains, including Amtrak’s “California Zephyr”, daily at top allowable speeds of 70 mph.