UTAH — Utah State Trooper Ruben Correa headed to a call of a car on the train tracks, but when he got to the scene a man was still in that car — and a train was coming.
Correa told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he heard the train’s horn shortly after he got onto the tracks early Wednesday and found an unconscious man in his 20’s at the wheel.
“I was actually trying to unbuckle his seat belt and then I heard a horn. And I looked to my left and I saw lights. And that’s when I realized that train is heading straight to us.”
Dashcam video from Correa’s patrol car recorded his urgent shouts to the driver: “We’ve got a train coming! We’ve got a train coming!”
“I had to make a decision at that point,” Correa said. “I decide to stay with him and do my best to keep him alive.”
Correa gave the man a big hug and unbuckled his seatbelt with his thumb. Just before the train hit, he safely pulled the man from the car and darted off the tracks within a foot of the train.
The dashcam video captured the full 35-second interval between the trooper getting out of his car to the train hitting the stranded vehicle.
“Wow, we just by a few seconds escaped death,” Correa said. “It still makes me sick to watch the video and see how close it actually was.”
After being rescued, the driver was checked out by medical personnel and his parents were able to pick him up.