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Suspect in fatal car, TRAX train crash was wanted by authorities

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 21:20:46-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The man Salt Lake City Police said died Monday when his car hit a TRAX train was wanted by authorities. A court had issued a warrant for his arrest the same day of the crash.

On Tuesday, the TRAX lines and North Temple were back up and running, after the crash caused the area to come to a halt for much of Monday.

Police said 51-year-old Jose Delrio Cabral sped down North Temple, after fleeing a different crash where he reportedly rear-ended a city-owned van at 200 North and 200 West.

“[He] drove between two vehicles and right through the crossing gate, and into an eastbound train,” said Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilkin.

The ordeal ended with nine people in the hospital, including the TRAX train conductor, and nine were treated on scene, police say. None had serious injuries.

Wilkin said anyone traveling down that road would have been able to see the train, not to mention the crossing arm and stopped cars.

But Cabral drove through anyway.

He said they were, “Unsure what he was thinking or what his motivation was at that point. Why he would try to get away.”

The hit-and-run crash Cabral was escaping, Det. Wilkin said, wasn’t too serious. The driver of the city van wasn’t hurt, though Cabral’s car had quite a bit of front-end damage.

So why would he flee?

A search of Cabral’s name in Utah courts Tuesday showed his criminal history. A Davis County court ordered him to pay $1,000 in restitution and fines as part of his sentencing for assaulting an officer last year.

Cabral was on probation for his suspended sentence. Court records showed he hadn’t paid up, and a warrant was issued on Monday.

He would have been heading back to jail.

While Det. Wilkin said, “Maybe he knew that he was wanted for some reason.” At the same time, he also said, “We don’t know. It’s hard to speculate as to what he was thinking at the time.”

Police still have other factors to figure out, like if drugs or alcohol were involved.

In the meantime, UTA still has a long way to go on repairs.

“We have a temporary power pole there that has to be [replaced with] a permanent one,” said UTA spokesman Remi Barron. “We also have to do some work to the concrete [wall] around there.”

He said the damage came in at $250,000. Full repairs should take a few more weeks, though Barron added most of that work is planned for off-hours so as not to disrupt TRAX service.