AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora Police Department on Thursday released a graphic video of an RTD A Line train crashing into a van earlier this week that killed a 56-year-old man.
The video, which shows two angles and was posted to the department’s YouTube page, shows the van sitting between the crossing gates in the southbound lanes of Chambers Road just before Smith Road at 3:37 a.m. Tuesday.
The driver is seen slowly moving the van forward past the two freight rail lines to the north and toward the A Line tracks.
The van is then seen moving forward and appears to time it to reach the tracks just as the fast-moving train arrives.
An off-duty Aurora police officer, who was serving as a flagger at the crossing gates in the northbound lanes, is seen in the background running away to avoid being hit by large amount of debris.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. He has yet to be identified by the Adams County Coroner’s Office.
Four of the 56 passengers on board the train were injured. One was taken to a hospital with minor injures, and three others were treated at the scene and released.
A flagger with Rocky Mountain Flagging was at the intersection along with the off-duty police officer.
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.
The officer was not injured and the train pushed the van down the line about a quarter-mile before coming to a stop.
“It is extremely important to note that the crossing’s entrance gates activate properly — behind the van that drove into the intersection and stopped — and well before the train enters the intersection and impacts the van,” RTD said in a statement.
“There are other angles that show the crossing’s exit gates, that also activated properly, by remaining open (to allow a vehicle that is inside the entrance gates to escape the intersection prior to the arrival of the train) and then the exit gates properly close.
“There is also a traffic signal near the exit gates that properly remains green after the entrance gates close, which lets the vehicle driver know they should get out of the intersection while the exit gates remain up.
“The distinction between the entrance gates versus the exit gates is very important otherwise it will likely give the absolutely incorrect impression regarding the proper functioning of the gates at that intersection.”
Police said Thursday they are still seeking witnesses to the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call 303-739-6342.
Warning: The video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.