SALT LAKE CITY – A collision between a car full of fast-food restaurant managers and a light-rail train just south of Salt Lake City Thursday killed two people after the vehicle apparently veered around a railroad crossing arm and drove onto the tracks.
Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson said Friday the 21-year-old driver, Alex Amundson of Fairview, and a rear passenger, 18-year-old Donald Callison of Monroe, were killed in the wreck.
Two other passengers, an 18-year-old female from Salt Lake County and a 19-year-old male from Vernal, remained hospitalized Friday.
All four were KFC shift managers from out of town who were in the Salt Lake area for a business seminar, Hutson said. On Thursday night, they were visiting fast-food restaurants to watch other shift managers in action, Hutson said.
Investigators believe the crossing arms were down and lights were flashing when Amundson drove onto the tracks, said Gerry Carpenter, a spokesman for Utah Transit Authority, which operates the TRAX light-rail system.
"It's uncertain at this time why he chose to enter the intersection but definitely it was a tragic decision," Carpenter said.
The southbound, three-car train was traveling between 45 mph and 55 mph an hour — its top speed — when it hit the Chevy Aveo and pushed it about 300 feet down the track.
None of the 60 to 80 passengers on the train was injured.
Carpenter said UTA crews determined that all of the intersection equipment appeared to be working properly at the time of the collision and the crossing arms showed no signs of damage.
The train's driver is on paid administrative leave and will undergo mandatory drug and alcohol tests as part of normal procedure, Carpenter said.
The crash remains under investigation
Carpenter said it's the first TRAX accident resulting in multiple deaths.