ROY -- An 88-year-old man died Friday when his vehicle was hit by a FrontRunner train at what residents say is a dangerous intersection.
Roy Police Sgt. Curtis Gibson said Everett Browning of Roy was going west on 4800 South when he stopped his car on the tracks around 9 a.m., at the intersection of 4800 South and 2700 West. The train was headed north when it hit the car.
The investigation into the accident is ongoing, Gibson said, but it's possible a medical problem played a role in why Browning stopped in the train's path. That, or he became confused at the intersection, Gibson said.
People who live in the area say the intersection has long been dangerous, due to its irregular layout. On red lights, drivers going west in the 4800 South turning lane are supposed to stop before the railroad tracks, which run right in front of the traffic signal.
However, due to a cement island separating the westbound and eastbound lanes, the turning lane is short and only able to fit a few cars. Often, residents say, cars pull up closer to the signal, stopping right on the tracks.
"People don't know whether to stop or what the heck to do," said Kay Barker, who lives on 2700 West.
Mike Martinez, who lives near the intersection and tries to avoid it altogether, said the intersection is complicated by being on a hill: "You get people stacked up right there on the tracks. I don't know how you could fix it with how it's laid out."
Gibson, however, said it was the first time a train has hit a car at the intersection.
Chris Davis, Roy's city manager, said city officials have given the intersection a lot of thought over the years. The cement island and turning lane were constructed around seven years ago, and it's one of the city's major roads.
"With this kind of a circumstance," Davis said, referring to Friday's accident, "we'll probably review (the intersection) again."
As soon as the driver of the FrontRunner saw the car, the train's emergency brakes were applied, said Remy Barron, spokesman for the Utah Transit Authority. How long the brakes were applied before impact is not yet known, nor is the train's speed at impact, though the investigation is expected to find those facts.
"It's a tragedy, no matter what happened," Barron said.
Gibson said the guard arms on the tracks appeared to be functioning properly, and the arm was down behind Browning's car when it was struck. There was no guard arm in front of the vehicle preventing Browning from driving off the tracks.
Lonnie Jones, who was in his house nearby when the accident happened, said he heard the train coming down the tracks. The impact of the crash was audible from his house.
"I heard the thud and went outside and saw the smoke," he said.
Gibson said passengers were kept on the FrontRunner for about two hours after the crash, as the train is a piece of evidence in the investigation.
A bus bridge carried passengers between Roy and Clearfield while the FrontRunner was down, Barron said. The train resumed normal operations just before 1 p.m.