Published March 22, 2014
A teenage boy is dead and a teenage girl critically injured after they were hit by a freight train while walking to a high school dance in Northern California.
CalFire Capt. Dennis Hunt said the accident happened Friday evening across the street from the school in Marysville, and near a little league park where a game was being played.
Hunt said the boy died at the scene and the girl was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.
A hospital spokesman said Saturday he could not release any details until the identity of the girl was released by police.
The town has one high school, and a school board official told the Marysville Appeal-Democrat that the victims were heading to a Sadie Hawkins day dance.
"(The victims) didn't acknowledge me," the train's engineer told a witness, according to the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.
People who were at the game said they heard an unusually long blowing of the train's horn.
"He honked from so far back there," Richard Avila, who was working at the concession stand at the baseball game, said.
"My son and somebody else said, 'I think somebody got hit," Fred Richardson told the newspaper. He then described the scene as chaotic as many rushed to the scene where the train came to a stop.
Diane Washburn of Marysville Little League said she was worried about exposing children to the chaotic scene. "Once they see that, that can't be unseen," she said.
Local residents say it's common for people to be seen crossing the train tracks.
Marysville Police Chief David Baker that patrols had been increased around the tracks Saturday.
"We need to make sure that folks just stay off the easement," Baker told KCRA-TV. "Respect the fact that these trains do come through our city all day long."
"Marysville is a small but busy city," CalFire Marysville Capt. Dennis Hunt said. "Everybody knows everybody, so it was pretty traumatic."
He knew the teenage girl, and said she had a close relationship to the boy, Hunt said.
"She's a sweetheart," he said.
Grief counselors will be made available for the teens' classmates, Frank Crawford, president of the Marysville Joint Unified School District board of trustees told the newspaper.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.