Jeep plunges off I-215, down embankment to UP tracks below

Utah Highway Patrol said a man apparently had a medical incident that caused him to lose control of his vehicle, drive off a bridge on I-215 and crash onto the Union Pacific railroad tracks below Friday night, June 14, 2019. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 15, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A man is lucky to be alive after apparently having a medical incident that caused him to lose control of his vehicle, drive off a bridge and crash onto the Union Pacific railroad tracks below.

The incident happened shortly after 11 p.m. Friday in the area of 400 S. Orange St.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Brandon Ayer said at the scene that a call came in  reporting a driver who appeared to have a diabetic emergency.

Ayer said the vehicle was coming from Interstate 80 westbound onto Interstate 215 West, heading southbound, when it went off the bridge, down an embankment and, ultimately, landed on the railroad tracks, bending one of the rails.

Salt Lake City Fire Department emergency responders arrived at the scene and extricated the man from his Jeep, which had landed on its side.

“He hit the barrier, cracked the barrier, went over it,” Ayer said. “Over a chain-link fence, all the way down the embankment.”

Ayer said the man was transported to Intermountain Medical Center with minor injuries.

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“It could have been a lot worse,” Ayer said. “He was wearing a seat belt. The air bags deployed. Luckily, he’s OK.”

Officials had a lot to deal with in addition to the injured man.

Ayer said it was imperative to make sure the trains were shut down and to have the exact location of the incident in order to get medical personnel to the injured man as quickly as possible.

“We had to shut down the scene to see how much damage there was,” he added.

Utah Department of Transportation was contacted because of the damage to the Jersey barrier and to make sure no other drivers would inadvertently crash through it.

“We’ll be following up, getting the scene cleared,” Ayer said. “We want to make sure the rails are OK before the trains start up again.”

The Union Pacific track at that location is one of the main lines going into Salt Lake City from the west, Ayer said.

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