On December 7, 2003, about 12:12 a.m., a Union Pacific Railroad (UP) switching foreman was struck and killed by two locomotives at the UP's East Yard in San Antonio, Texas. The two locomotives were operated as a single unit under the foreman's control. He was operating the locomotives from the ground using a remote control transmitter. The foreman usually had a helper. However, on the night the accident occurred, the helper position was not filled because of a crew dispatch problem, so the foreman worked alone.
His assignment was to switch 44 railroad cars using the locomotives. When the accident occurred, the locomotives were traveling about 11 mph and were moving back over the track they had just traversed rather than over the tracks leading to the destination (train yard track 3).