1 dead, 4 injured in collision with RTD A Line in Aurora

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AURORA | One person was killed and four others were injured early Tuesday morning after the University of Colorado A Line train collided with a passenger van near the intersection of Smith and Chambers roads, according to Aurora police.

At about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday morning, a passenger van entered the intersection of the road and the commuter rail tracks as an eastbound train was approaching, police said.

Police were still unsure Tuesday whether the crossing gates were entirely closed or in the process of coming down as the van entered the intersection. They estimated the train pushed the van about a quarter-mile down the tracks after the collision occurred.

An Aurora police officer who was working off-duty at the south side of the intersection tried to prevent the van from entering the intersection, but was unable to do so, police said. That officer was then “showered with debris,” according to Aurora Police Sgt. Chris Amsler.

A flagger with Rocky Mountain Flagging was also working at the north side of the intersection. 

Amsler said at a media briefing Tuesday morning the crossing gate was functioning correctly. The gates have bedeviled RTD with issues since the rail line, which provides service from Downtown Denver to Denver International Airport, opened last spring.

“At this point in time, we do believe that the gates were operating properly,” Amsler said.

One passenger on the train was transported to a local hospital to get treated for injuries, police said. Three other passengers were treated for minor injuries at the scene. There were 56 passengers on board the train.

Road closures near the crash site along Smith and Chambers roads remain in effect. 

The A Line train will continue to run Tuesday morning between Denver Union Station and Peoria Station, according to RTD. A bus will transport passengers for the remaining leg of the line from the Peoria Station to Denver International Airport.

The Federal Railroad Authority will be investigating the crash along with Aurora police.

The identity of the driver of the van will be released by the Adams County Coroner.