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Man hit by TRAX train critically injured

SALT LAKE CITY — A man wearing earbuds was critically injured Monday when he attempted to step onto a TRAX platform and was hit by an oncoming train, investigators said.

“He turned and looked at the southbound train that was departing the station, so I’m not sure he was aware there was a northbound train coming,” said Utah Transit Authority Police Lt. Paul Nielson. “Initial information from witnesses is he had earbuds in his ears and he was looking back from the train that was approaching him.”

Nielson said the man was initially caught beneath the TRAX train at the platform near 180 W. 1300 South when first-responders arrived, and he was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

“He is yelling and communicating, which is a good sign,” Nielson said.

Several witnesses watched as the man was hit, including Mitchell Halsey.

“He just walked and boom!” Halsey said. “And when I looked at him, it was too late, man.”

Halsey said he believed the man rolled seven or eight times as the train finally stopped about 20 feet down the track.

“I thought he was dead!” Halsey said.

Halsey said he heard the train honk multiple times before impact.

Nielson said the commuter trains need time to stop.

“They can’t stop on a dime, they can’t swerve out of the way,” Nielson said. “Basically, you have metal on metal trying to stop.”

He warned others to be careful around the tracks.

“Pay attention,” Nielson said. “The earbuds and the music can wait.”

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