PAYSON — A 36-year-old ATV rider was hit and killed by a train early Monday.

William Cody Hunter, of Payson, was riding an ATV with a woman just after midnight when he tried to cross a set of railroad tracks west of Payson, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office, but got stuck. 

"He and a woman were trying to cross the tracks away from a designated railroad crossing. The woman was able to get away from the tracks but Cody was unable to get off the tracks before he was hit by the north bound train," the sheriff's office said.

The couple knew the train was coming and had about a minute to clear the tracks, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. But why Hunter didn't clear the tracks or if he thought he could get the ATV off the tracks in time, wasn't known Monday.

"We may never know," Cannon said. "He may not have recognized the danger was imminent."

Hunter's right leg was severed just above the knee. He was in extremely critical condition when paramedics arrived and died while en route to the hospital.

Pat Reavy Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam