CENTERVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) — A young man is alive because of the quick and courageous actions of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper in the predawn darkness Wednesday morning.
With a fast-moving train bearing down on them, the trooper and an unnamed driver were two seconds away from certain death when they dove out of the way. The dramatic rescue was captured on the trooper’s dashboard camera.
At 6:50 a.m., Trooper Ruben Correa responded to a call of a car on the tracks in the town of Centerville, north of Salt Lake City. The video shows him scrambling up the embankment to find the driver unconscious behind the wheel with a train screaming towards them. What happened next was like a rescue scene from an action movie.
“We got a train comin’. We got a train comin’,” Correa can be heard shouting on the video, dragging the man to safety just two seconds before the train slammed into the car and pushed it down the track.
“I heard the horn from a train,” Correa told reporters. “I looked to my left and was able to observe that train was coming pretty fast, anywhere between 50 and 80 miles per hour. So at that point I was a little but concerned about that. … At that point I wasn’t really thinking. I was just doing my job and the main concern was just getting him out.”
Correa said an unknown medical event that caused the unidentified driver to drift off of southbound Interstate 15, crashing through a road sign support and a fence before high centering on the tracks
“He was in danger and I had to get him out of the vehicle as quickly as possible,” Correa said. “I got worried after I saw the train hit the vehicle and the vehicle flew about 30 feet in front of us and that’s when I realize, ‘Oh, wow. That was a lot closer than what I would have liked.'”
Correa met with the young man and his family later at a Utah Highway Patrol office.
“I was able to talk to him and he’s very grateful that we were both able to make it out OK,” Correa said. “I’m still trying to process everything that happened. I’m just very grateful that I was able to get him out and he’s alive and he’s back with his family now.”
ABC4 News has filed a request with the Utah Transit Authority to obtain video from that train’s onboard camera but they had not yet released the footage as of Wednesday evening.
As for Correa, he’s very shy about all the media attention in the wake of his rescue. In fact, he told reporters that stepping in front of news cameras was the scariest thing he did all day.