Witness of train derailment says passengers looked shell-shocked

Posted at 9:28 PM, Nov 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-06 23:28:19-05

MIDVALE -- As fast as the trains in Midvale were moving on Wednesday, Mary Anderson saw one come to a terrifying stop Tuesday night.

“It reminded me of the movies,” Anderson said. “Honestly, like, when I saw they collided, they both went back, both trains went back probably 15 feet.”

Heading home for the night, Anderson watched as a ride to Salt Lake City for six passengers was derailed by an empty train car left sitting in the tracks.

“I had just enough time to think, ‘Gee, I hope another train doesn’t come,’” Anderson said.

Traveling at about 40 mph, the driver only had enough time to hit the emergency brakes.

“He slowed that train down pretty fast,” Anderson said, “Because it came around a bend, and if he hadn’t slowed down, it would have been so much worse.”

The crash injured the driver and two others, who Anderson and her husband rushed to help.

“They were in a state of shock,” she said. “When I got on the train they were just sitting there like they didn’t know what was going on. They looked a little bit shell shocked.”

Officials with the Utah Transit Authority said the car sitting in the tracks was somehow disconnected from another train that had just passed through, unbeknownst to its driver.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of it. Obviously, it’s not something that’s happened before and it’s not something that’s going to happen again,” said UTA spokesman, Remi Barron.

Officials believe the car was detached from the train around 8:30 p.m., as the driver headed to the rail yard. Approximately 15 minutes later, the second train came through, unaware the car was there. UTA has launched a full investigation into what happened.