SOUTH SALT LAKE A man who somehow got pinned underneath a Utah Transit Authority TRAX train after walking in front of it suffered a broken ankle and scraped knee but was expected to go home from the hospital today.
"We're just incredibly grateful. This could have been something horrific," said Earl Kline, father of 18-year-old Christopher Kline. "He's doing amazingly well."
Christopher Kline got off a northbound TRAX train at the Meadowbrook station near 3900 South and West Temple just after 8 a.m. Monday. He was crossing from the TRAX station platform to the parking lot, where UTA buses were waiting, when he stepped in front of the train that he had just left.
"The train just barely started to go," Earl Kline said.
Christopher Kline was hit and dragged about 20 feet, according to police. He was then somehow pinned underneath the train between the rails of the track.
"I can't imagine how he got under the snowguard," his father said.
When police reached him, he was conscious, breathing and alert.
"I'd say it's a miracle," said South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Gary Keller.
With relatively minimal effort, firefighters were able to pull Kline out. They flew him as a precaution by medical helicopter to a local hospital.
UTA spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware said the train operator, the only witness to the accident, was "pretty shaken up." The train operator was placed on standard paid leave pending an investigation into the incident. The TRAX schedule was delayed only a minute or two while rescuers got the man out and investigators collected evidence, she said.
Christopher Kline has a basic learning disability and attends a special education program in the Granite District that teaches him skills on how to become more independent, such as resume writing and how to ride a TRAX train, his father said. He was on his way to school when he was hit. As part of the program, Christopher Kline also works part-time on a volunteer basis at the University Medical Center.
Earl Kline said Monday that he had not questioned his son much about what happened. He said Christopher Kline was in good spirits Monday afternoon, but a little groggy from the pain medication he was given for his knee, which was "scraped up pretty bad."Earl Kline said he's just grateful the accident wasn't more serious than it was.