OGDEN -- Like a crumpled tin can, the mangled wreckage of the white Chevrolet pickup truck sat Wednesday afternoon in an Ogden towing company parking lot as a stark reminder that automobiles are no match for hulking freight trains.
Around 11 p.m. Tuesday, the truck met its end on a darkened set of railroad tracks at 8950 W. 900 South in a desolate section of unincorporated Weber County.
A man driving along a dirt road tried to cross the tracks in a spot where there is no crossing, then attempted to back up and became stuck, Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Talbot said.
He and a male passenger, both in their 20s, tried unsuccessfully to get the truck off the tracks and jumped out of the vehicle just before it was hit by a Union Pacific train. The men, who have not been identified by authorities, were uninjured.
The train was traveling 40 to 50 mph and was unable to stop in time. It took the train about a mile after the collision to come to a complete stop, Talbot said.
The accident was still under investigation Wednesday night, and the men in the truck face possible charges for trespassing on Union Pacific property.
The accident should serve as a reminder of the danger motorists face if they fail to use designated crossings to travel over railroad tracks, Talbot said.
"They can get high-centered on those (tracks)," he said.
There were 15 Utah highway- and railroad-crossing incidents that killed seven people in 2011, said Vern Keeslar, state director for Operation Life Saver. Operation Life Saver is a nonprofit public awareness and education program dedicated to ending collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and on railroad property.
There were also two deaths in Utah last year that occurred as a result of trespassing on railroad property and in areas where there wasn't a designated crossing, Keeslar said.
It takes a train about a mile -- the length of 18 football fields -- to make an emergency stop, increasing the possibility that a collision with an automobile will cause serious injury or death to motorists.
"When you're in a collision with a train, you are 20 times more likely to die than in a collision with another vehicle."