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Family thinks UTA is to blame after Murray man’s wheelchair gets caught on tracks

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-06 00:01:58-04

MURRAY, Utah -- The family of a man in a wheelchair who was hit and killed by a Trax train in Murray on Friday say they believe UTA may be to blame.

The victim in this case is 61-year-old Donald Brown. He lived just a few blocks from the crossing at 4500 South and 300 West.

"They need to fix that area, it could have been prevented," said Donald's daughter, Tammi Brown.

Tammi Brown is referring to a gap located on the pedestrian walkway at the railroad crossing where her father was killed on his motorized wheelchair.

"He was just going out for a nightly stroll and unfortunately from what we heard is the wheel got stuck in the tracks and he tried to get up to get out of the way of the train and fell onto the tracks and got hit," Tammi Brown said.

Donald Brown's girlfriend of eight years was walking alongside him at the time.

"From what I heard she tried to help him but wasn't able to because she is quite small herself. You know, she couldn't get him out of the way," Tammi Brown said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but the Brown family says when they visited the crossing, this gap clearly jumped out to them as a danger.

"They should fix that because it could happen to anybody, a little child's foot could get stuck there, a little stroller," Tammi Brown said.

Donald Brown suffered from Parkinson's disease and had been using a wheelchair for the past year, but his family says he never lost his independence.

"He just tried to be strong, not be so negative about it, because he knew that there was nothing he could do about it," Tammi Brown said.

According to family, Donald Brown was also an army veteran, and had 10 children, 17 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

"I'm very proud of my dad he will be missed, he was my best friend and I saw him almost every day, and now it's just so hard not being able to see him," Tammi Brown said.

The Brown family said they have hired an attorney and could be seeking legal action against UTA.

UTA officials say they can't say much because the investigation is still on going. However, they did have crews at the crossing immediately following the crash and the crews determined all the safety requirements at that crossing are being met.