CENTERVILLE (ABC4 News) – A young man is alive because of the quick and courageous actions of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper in the predawn darkness Wednesday morning.
With a fast-moving FrontRunner train bearing down on them, that patrolman and an unnamed driver were two seconds away from certain death and the dramatic rescue was captured on the trooper’s dashboard camera.
At 6:50 a.m. Trooper Ruben Correa responded to a call of a car on the tracks near Parrish Lane. The video shows him scrambling up the embankment to find the driver unconscious behind the wheel with a northbound FrontRunner train screaming towards them. What happens next is like a rescue scene from an action-adventure movie.
“We got a train comin’. We got a train comin’,” Trooper Correa shouts on the video, dragging the man to safety just two seconds before the train slams into the car and pushes it down the track.
“I heard the horn from a train,” Trooper Correa told reporters. “I looked to my left and was able to observe that train was coming pretty fast between 50 and 80 miles per hour so at that point I was a little but concerned about that…At that point I wasn’t really thinking, I was just doing my job and the main concern was just getting him out.”
Trooper Correa says it was an unknown medical event that caused the unidentified driver to drift off of southbound Interstate 15, crashing through a road sign support and a fence before high centering on the tracks
“He was in danger and I had to get him out of the vehicle as quickly as possible,” Trooper Correa said. “I got worried after I saw the train hit the vehicle and the vehicle flew about 30 feet in front of us and that’s when I realize ‘Oh wow. That was a lot closer than what I would have liked’.”
Trooper Correa met with the young man and his family at the UHP office in Farmington.
“I was able to talk to him and he’s very grateful that we were both able to make it out OK,” Correa said. “I’m still trying to process everything that happened. I’m just very grateful that I was able to get him out and he’s alive and he’s back with his family now.”
ABC4 News has filed a request with the Utah Transit Authority to obtain video from that train’s onboard camera but they have not yet released that footage.
As for Trooper Correa, he’s very shy about all the media attention in the wake of his rescue. In fact, he told reporters that stepping in front of news cameras was the scariest thing he did all day.