WOODS CROSS (ABC4 News) – Wednesday, October 16th was just another morning on the job for Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Ruben Correa. He was on a routine traffic stop when he got a radio call that would change his life.
A medical incident had caused a driver to pass out behind the wheel. He veered off of Interstate15 and up and embankment where his car got stuck on the Frontrunner tracks. Trooper Correa’s dashboard camera was recording as he rushed to help with a train quickly approaching.
“We got a train coming!” Correa yelled as he pulled the unconscious man to safety just a second before impact.
“I try not to look at the video. It kind of scares me a little bit,” Trooper Correa told Behind the Badge. “It was such a close call and it makes me sick a little bit to watch the video now…One second later and I probably would not be here talking to you today. It was kind of a miracle.”
The 2009 graduate of Viewmont High School served four years as a machine gunner in the U.S. Marine Corps and was recently honored during a Veterans Day ceremony at Odyssey Elementary in Woods Cross.
He credits his Marine training for his actions that morning.
“The Marine Corps is very unique,” Trooper Correa explained. “From day one you go into boot camp they train you so you have muscle memory, basically trained not to think and just react under instincts and I think that’s what happened that day and combined with the Utah Highway Patrol training they gave me and provided me I think that helped me to accomplish and get the mission done.”
Two weeks later, he was a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, describing his brush with death to a national TV audience.
“It was about a foot, two feet away from my body,” he said of the train. “I saw the train hit the vehicle and it flew about 30 feet in front of us.”
“It was straight up like a movie to me the first time I saw it,” Clarkson said on the show.
Now Trooper Correa gets recognized in public, even by drivers he pulls over.
“I’d say 9 out of 10 stops that I do, people recognize me,” he said. “It’s a weird interaction, giving somebody a ticket. You know I still have a job to do. It’s a weird scenario.”
Trooper Correa tells Behind the Badge that any law enforcement officer would have done what he did that day. He just happened to be the closest one.
“I personally don’t consider myself a hero. I honestly think I was just doing my job,” he said. “When I was in the Marine Corps I saw heroes and you’d always say ‘I wish I could be that guy one day’ or be able to have the ability to do those kinds of things. It’s just weird that now it’s all happening today. I just never saw it coming.”
Trooper Correa will have another life-changing moment next year when he marries his fiancee on September 5th.