Arizona DPS trooper drags man from car seconds before train hits it

Jan 25, 2018, 2:04 PM | Updated: 7:28 pm

Trooper Henry (Hank) Roanhorse and the driver's car after the impact. (Arizona Department of Public...

Trooper Henry (Hank) Roanhorse and the driver's car after the impact. (Arizona Department of Public Safety Photos)

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photos)

PHOENIX — An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper likely saved a man’s life when he dragged the unresponsive driver out of a car that was hit by a train seconds later.

In a release, the agency said trooper Henry (Hank) Roanhorse was driving home when he spotted the car on some railroad tracks in McKinley County, New Mexico, which is just across the state line.

“Roanhorse was familiar with the area and knew that the tracks carried a large volume of rail traffic, often traveling at high speeds,” the release said.

Roanhorse approached the vehicle and found the 56-year-old driver, Sampson Whitegoat, unconscious behind the wheel. Whitegoat smelled strongly of alcohol.

Roanhorse crawled into the vehicle to take off Whitegoat’s seat belt as a train rounded a nearby curve.

He was able to pull Whitegoat from the vehicle — despite Whitegoat, who had regained consciousness, fighting against him — and dragged his 300-pound frame about 25 feet from the tracks.

Seconds later, the train collided with the car and threw it 150 feet.

“Thank you officer, you just saved my life,” Whitegoat said to Roanhorse after the crash.

The McKinley County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and investigated the incident.

Roanhorse lives in northeastern Arizona.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of chattel slavery on June 19, 1865 in Galves...

Race relations expert says ‘every American’ should celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a day of celebrating for "every American, white, black or otherwise," race relations expert Daryl Davis said Wednesday.

6 hours ago

Scottsdale-based chipmaker onsemi is planning a large investment into a Czech Republic facility. (o...

Associated Press

Scottsdale-based chipmaker Onsemi to invest up to $2 billion in Czech Republic facility

The U.S. chipmaker onsemi is planning a multi-year investment of up $2 billion in its production facility in the Czech Republic.

9 hours ago

A woman was killed in an alleged domestic dispute in Tempe.  (Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police De...

Alleged domestic dispute overnight in Tempe leaves woman dead

Police officers detained two individuals in connection to a shooting in Tempe that left a woman dead, authorities said.

10 hours ago

Glendale Police identified the suspects as Ricardo Jaime Moreno, left, and Jesus Humberto Beltran A...

Serena O'Sullivan

2 suspects arrested for discharging guns in Glendale

Two suspects were arrested after discharging guns in a Glendale neighborhood on May 19, Glendale Police announced on Wednesday.

11 hours ago

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)...

Jim Sharpe

Is Biden using migrants as political pawns — in a game of checkers?

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe wonders if Biden is using migrants as political pawns -- in a game of checkers -- following recent executive action.

12 hours ago

A Silver Alert was issued for an 88-year-old man last seen Friday morning in Mesa who has dementia ...

Subject of Silver Alert from Mesa found dead almost week after disappearing

A Silver Alert subject from Mesa who had been missing for nearly a week was found dead, authorities announced Wednesday.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Arizona DPS trooper drags man from car seconds before train hits it