Driver killed in collision with A Line train might have purposely pulled onto tracks

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AURORA, Colo. -- The driver of a van might have pulled into the path of an RTD A Line train early Tuesday morning, the Aurora Police Department said.

The crash happened just after 3:30 a.m. at Smith and Chambers roads. The 56-year-old driver of the van was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no other passengers in the vehicle.

Four of the 56 passengers on board the train, which was traveling eastbound to Denver International Airport, were injured. One was taken to a hospital with minor injures, and three others were treated at the scene and released.

First responders were seen helping remove passengers from the train.

Police spokesman Chris Amsler said an off-duty Aurora police officer and an employee with Rocky Mountain Flagging were at the intersection at the time of the crash.

Because of numerous issues with gates since the A Line opened in April, flaggers have been at all crossings along the line for several months for safety reasons.

Amsler said the early indications are the gates were working properly.

The off-duty police officer tried to stop the driver from entering the tracks just before the crash occurred. Debris nearly hit the officer, who was not injured. The train pushed the van about a quarter-mile before coming to a stop.

The driver will be identified by the Adams County Coroner's Office.

The A Line was shut down at the Peoria Station and passengers were being transported to the airport by buses. The westbound A Line was also closed from DIA to the Peoria Station and a bus bridge was put in place.

Amsler said it's the first time Aurora police have investigated a crash involving a commuter train and said he expects detectives to be at the scene most of the day. The department is being assisted by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Smith Road was closed between Chambers Road and Airport Boulevard, and Chambers was closed between Smith and East 32nd Avenue. Smith Road reopened to traffic late Tuesday afternoon but Chambers Road remained closed.

It's not known when full service of the A Line, and when Chambers road would reopen.