As train neared, officer pulled woman from tracks

Elk River Police Officer Brian Boos receives the department’s Lifesaving Award.

(Editor’s note: Scroll to the bottom of this story to click on a link to a video taken from the train.)

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

A police officer who pulled a suicidal woman from the train tracks seconds before a train would have hit her has been honored with the Elk River Police Department’s Lifesaving Award.

Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe (right) presented Officer Brian Boos with the Lifesaving Award.

Officer Brian Boos, a 14-year veteran of the department, was presented the award by Police Chief Brad Rolfe during the June 18 Elk River City Council meeting.

Here’s how the lifesaving event unfolded, according to Rolfe and Boos.

Boos had been dispatched at 5:11 p.m. May 9 to a report of someone on the railroad tracks near the Main Street crossing in Elk River.

He was at Highway 10 and Great River Energy when the call came in and said it took about 20 seconds to get to the Main Street crossing.

Another officer also responded.

Boos said he did not initially see anyone on the tracks. Walking east, he soon spotted a little hump on the tracks. As he got closer, it became clear it was a person.

“As soon as I started running, I heard the whistle of the train (from the west),” he said.

He ran faster and, as he got closer to the motionless woman, looked behind him and saw the headlight of an approaching train.

When he got to the woman, she was lying in the fetal position between the rails of the eastbound tracks, 75-100 yards east of the Main Street crossing.

He grabbed her by the arm, pulled her off the tracks and held her down until the train passed.

Within 10-20 seconds, a Northstar commuter train sped by them on the way to a Twins game. The train typically travels at about 70 mph, Rolfe said.

“It was very fortunate that Brian got there as quickly as he did, that he is as fleet of foot as he is,” Rolfe said. “A lot of things fell into place that day to have a very good outcome.”

Rolfe said Boos’ prompt action undoubtedly saved the woman’s life.

The woman was not injured, but was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids for evaluation.

“She did admit that she intended to end her life that day,” Rolfe said.

Boos said he has since received a nice letter from the woman, thanking him.

“She has two little kids, and we’re glad it turned out the way it did,” Rolfe said. “She’s very thankful for Brian’s actions that day.”

Boos said he was just in the right place at the right time and did what any officer on the department would have done.

Below is a video taken from the Northstar commuter train: The two-minute video, courtesy of the Elk River Police Department, shows the view from the front of the train as it comes through Elk River heading east on May 9. As it approaches the Main Street crossing, a squad car with its lights flashing is off to the left. Past the Main Street crossing, a police officer is seen running up to Officer Brian Boos, who is off to the right with the woman he pulled from the tracks.