Train crushes car after man abandons it on tracks in Roy

Jul 28 2011 - 11:25pm

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(Courtesy of Roy Police Department) A freight train demolished the back end of a car abandoned on the tracks by Ronald J. Degroot on Thursday after a fight with his wife.
(Courtesy of Roy Police Department) A freight train demolished the back end of a car abandoned on the tracks by Ronald J. Degroot on Thursday after a fight with his wife.
(Courtesy of Roy Police Department) A freight train demolished the back end of a car abandoned on the tracks by Ronald J. Degroot on Thursday after a fight with his wife.
(Courtesy of Roy Police Department) A freight train demolished the back end of a car abandoned on the tracks by Ronald J. Degroot on Thursday after a fight with his wife.

ROY -- Ronald J. Degroot, 41, was arrested Thursday morning after a freight train destroyed his car -- which police say he abandoned on the tracks.

Degroot left his Roy home in his compact sedan after a fight with his wife. He eventually parked the car on the train tracks near the 4800 South and 1900 West intersection.

"He was there awhile, then changed his mind (about the car), but he was unable to move it," said Anna Bond, spokeswoman for the Roy Police Department. Police are not sure why he was unable to move the car, though he did abandon it after he realized he could not, Bond said.

Soon after, at about 4 a.m., a Union Pacific train crashed into the car. The train could not come to a stop until about 5600 South.

Degroot left the scene. Officers found him walking back to his home later in the morning and booked him into Weber County Jail.

He was booked on suspicion of second-degree felony criminal mischief.

No one was injured in the collision.

Degroot had been drinking before he left his home, but it is unclear whether alcohol was a factor because of the time lapse between when he left the home and when officers found him, Bond said.

Degroot's car had been knocked onto a FrontRunner train track after its collision with the freight train.

"It was enough of an obstruction that we were unable to run trains through the area until it was removed," said Gerry Carpenter, spokesman for Utah Transit Authority.

Regular tow trucks had difficulty reaching the car because of the area, so UTA had to bring in a crane to remove the car, Carpenter said.

In the meantime, UTA bused passengers from the Roy FrontRunner station to the Clearfield station, causing a small delay, he said. Trains were still departing from Salt Lake City and Ogden on schedule.

The track was cleared by 7:15 a.m., though normal traffic did not resume until 30 minutes later.

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