California teen hero killed by train while saving girlfriend

In Marysville on the evening of Friday, March 21, two teens were involved in a tragic train accident. On the way to their school dance, the 16-year-old boy and his 16-year-old girlfriend decided to cross a railway line to get something to eat. Although there is a tunnel underneath the railroad tracks, they decided to go across the tracks, worried that the dark tunnel could be dangerous.

Sadly the teenagers did not realize the train was approaching them when it was too late to move completely out of its way. Just before the train struck them, the boy managed to push the girl out of the way of the train enough to save her life. Tragically, however, he was killed by the impact. The girl was critically injured and airlifted to a hospital. The families and community consider the boy to be a hero for saving her life while sacrificing his own.

Typically a train, even a relatively slow-moving one such as this, would need at least a mile of track to stop completely. However, witnesses have said that they heard the train use its horn a number of times, leaving people wondering what exactly happened that evening.

The investigation, being conducted by the railroad company with the assistance of the police and the country sheriff's office, will attempt to establish some clarity around the events that took place. Investigators are considering whether the teens may have been distracted by something, but the police chief has confirmed that neither was wearing headphones.

Also worth considering in this investigation is whether there may have been some form of negligence on the part of the train conductor, train company or even the city. Was the train’s horn not loud enough? Did the conductor fail to see the children until it was too late? Should the tunnel under the tracks have been more well-lit? Hopefully investigators will be able to get the answers that the family members of the victims need to move forward.

After a serious or fatal train accident, families may file lawsuits for wrongful death and personal injury against the railroad company. As heartbreaking as this accident is for everybody, the reality is that financial compensation, if granted, often can assist with the financial repercussions of an unforeseen tragedy.

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