(Fort Worth, Texas – May 15, 2014)
A 15-year-old sophomore student at Fort Worth, TX South Hills High School died last Thursday morning at about 7:15 A.M. when he was overtaken and struck by a southbound BNSF Railway coal train as he took a commonly-used route to school.
Jonathan Martinez, who lives in a neighborhood east of and across the railroad tracks from the school, was reportedly carrying a backpack and may have been wearing ear buds as he walked south along the tracks. Regardless, the route is used by many students of several different schools as their regular pathway to school, and is not fenced off to prevent or deter such use.
“Every day, there’s trains that go through there all day,” Lyndsay Perez told WFAA-TV, Channel 8 Reporter Lauren Zakalik, adding that “you see kids walking down the tracks all the time.”
South Hills Senior Luis Martinez said that, although he realizes the pathway is dangerous, he’s taken it himself. “I guess it’s a shortcut, I don’t know,” Martinez told the Channel 8 reporter. “Just trying to get to school fast,” he concluded.
BNSF Director of Public Affairs Joe Faust said that the train’s locomotive engineer was aware that his train had struck the victim, and that the lead locomotive was equipped with a video camera which should offer authorities a view of the accident, adding that the tragedy “did not happen at any crossing”.
Perez still wishes the railroad would erect a fence. She spoke with tears about the children, whom she knows are as young as eight, who take the risky path to school, knowing that most students make it to school and back unscathed. But she knows that Thursday, one, tragically did not.