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Utah high school student hit, killed by UTA train while crossing tracks

Posted at 8:11 AM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 15:27:06-04

SANDY, Utah — A teenager riding a bike was hit and killed by a Utah Transit Authority TRAX train Monday morning in Sandy, authorities say.

Canyons School District officials said the teen was a student at Jordan High School.

According to the UTA, the accident happened when two Blue Line trains arrived almost simultaneously at the crossing near 190 East and Main Street.

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UTA train that hit minor with bicycle in Sandy

“When we get a phone call that early, when students are headed to school, you hope that it is not news that it’s a tragedy,” said Jeff Haney with the district.

UTA police said the teen, later identified only as LP by the family, was heading westbound when they got to the crossing where the lights were on and the gate was down. After waiting for the northbound train to pass, the teen lifted the gate arm to go underneath, rode into the path of an oncoming southbound train, and was killed by the impact.

READ: 2 dead in Texas after train hits vehicle that attempted to pass railroad crossing

“In the morning, I came to drop my kid off at school and I saw the police and everything,” said Canyons School District parent Baliria Martinez.

In a letter to parents and guardians of Jordan High School students, the district said counselors will be "available to meet with students who may be experiencing difficult emotions." Jordan High School principal Dr. Bruce Eschler also e-mailed out resources to parents on how to recognize signs of grief and how to help teens process it.

Students, neighbors and parents like Martinez stopped by after school Monday to build a small memorial for LP.

Martinez said she doesn’t know the student personally, but she hurts for their family.

“I just feel bad,” she said. “I have two teenagers and he likes to go on bikes outside.”

Meanwhile, UTA asked people to be alert and patient at crossings, waiting an extra 10-15 seconds to make sure all trains have cleared.

"If you’re at a crossing and the gates remain down, the lights stay on, and the bells keep ringing, there’s a reason for that," said UTA spokesman Carl Arky. "It’s not uncommon for trains headed in opposite directions to get to that crossing at the same time, and quite often people will see the first train that clears the crossing and won’t see the second."

The Canyons School District is unfortunately familiar with TRAX-related tragedies.

“We’ve had situations where students were injured, some fatal injuries,” said Haney.

Haney said the last fatality was back in 2020. Martinez said her children saw it happen.

“They saw everything, so this is hard,” she said.

After a brief stoppage, all Blue Line trains resumed their regular schedules at around 10:30 a.m.

Crossing guards and aids were at the Trax intersection after school to remind students how to safely cross the lines.

The student's family has a GoFundMe account here if you wish to donate.