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Distracted pedestrian injured after being struck by TRAX train

Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 09:57:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY - A pedestrian was hit by a TRAX train at the Ballpark Station Monday afternoon.

According to Lieutenant Paul Nielson with UTA Police, a man with headphones in was crossing the train tracks on 1300 South, and did not see the train coming.

"[The train driver] was honking and attempting to stop," Lt. Nielson said. "The individual was looking at the southbound train going the opposite direction, and was hit by the northbound train."

TRAX rider Kelvin Johnson said he watched the man with headphones walk toward the tracks as the train approached.

"He didn't hear the beeping, the buzzing, none of that," Johnson said. "He walked, he slipped right on the yellow track and [the train] just took him under."

Lt. Nielson said fire fighters pulled the rider out from underneath the train, and UTA reported that the man was "breathing and alert."

"He had lacerations, bleeding, but was yelling-- so that's a good sign," Lt. Nielson said.

Emergency crews transported the patient to a hospital.

Several TRAX riders could be seen wearing headphones as they headed to and from the Ballpark Station Monday evening. Ian Drake said he often wears headphones, and said it's easy to miss seeing the train coming.

"They listen to their music with their headphones on, and they just walk without looking both ways," he said, later adding, "I almost got hit a couple times, but people have to stop me sometimes."

Both Drake and Johnson said they'd like to see extra measures taken to prevent pedestrians from crossing the train tracks in front of trains. Right now, crossing arms stop drivers on the street. A sign tells pedestrians to look both ways, and another sign warns pedestrians to stay out of the crossing area when the lights are flashing.

The two said they'd like to see a barrier of some sort so people physically cannot cross the tracks, rather than leaving it up to each individual to stop and look both ways.

Lt. Nielson said it's important to pay attention at all TRAX crossings.

"If in fact he's listening to music and not paying attention, that's the word we'd want to get out-- is to pay attention to these crossings, because they are very dangerous," Lt. Nielson said. "It sounds like he's a very lucky man to be possibly walking away from this."