UTA engineer explains role in saving man’s life

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – After a man escapes death thanks to the quick actions of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper, the UTA engineer operating the FrontRunner train that hit the car speaks out.

“I could kind of see a glint of light off in the distance,” said Riley Nelson, UTA Engineer. “I was about a mile out before I realized there was actually a car on the tracks.”

As he approached, Nelson explains what he did next.

“Basically threw it into emergency, laid on the horn and said a prayer,” he said.

The crash happened Wednesday morning just before 7 a.m. on the FrontRunner tracks near Parrish Lane in Centerville.

There were about 60 passengers on board at the time. Thanks to Nelson’s quick thinking he helped save the life of a man who was unconscious behind the wheel.

On Thursday, he was commended for his actions at UTA’s Warm Springs Facility in Salt Lake City.

“We are grateful for the professionalism, the excellent work that Riley Nelson our engineer did,” said Bruce Cardon, UTA Commuter Rail General Manager.

On the ground, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Ruben Correa pulled the man from the vehicle.

Both men having only seconds to act.

“We want to commend Trooper Correa, said Carl Arky, UTA Spokesperson. “He did an amazing job yesterday. UTA salutes him as well.”

A day after the ordeal, Riley is still processing what happened.

“I was a couple hundred feet away before I realized there were people in the car,” said Nelson. “Just before they went below my field of view on the windshield, I saw the trooper wrap his arms around the guy and pulled back with all he could.”

Nelson says he did have the opportunity to meet Trooper Correa. He’s now hoping to meet the man he helped save.

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