El Rancho High student killed by commuter train
PICO RIVERA -- A 14-year-old boy was killed Tuesday afternoon after he was struck by a commuter
train near Passons and Slauson boulevards, Sheriff's Department officials said.
The boy, an El Rancho High School student, was killed at 3:28 p.m., after he and a friend approached the tracks to see
how close they could get to the train, said Sgt. Lester Trull of the Sheriff's Department.
"The two approached the railroad intersection at Passons and saw the lights and arms activate and, according to the other
boy, they wanted to see how close they could get," Trull said. "So they walked up to the train, and the boy was struck and
killed at the scene."
The eastbound train was traveling at 58-60 mph when the boy was struck, Trull said.
4:30 p.m., a crowd of about 100 of the boy's friends, relatives and onlookers gathered on both sides of the tracks. Many
of them were in tears.
The boy's parents and siblings watched near the accident scene. The boy's brother clutched the victim's backpack, handed
to the family by a county coroner's official.
El Rancho Unified School District officials also were on the scene to console many of the boy's closest friends.
Relatives and school district officials declined to speak with a reporter.
However, some of the victim's friends described the boy as "a good kid."
"He was a good friend. I had him for a bunch of classes, and he was just a good kid," said Stephen Guardado, an El Rancho
The boy's death occurred at an intersection that has been the source of controversy for nearly four years. Residents who
live in nearby apartment complexes said that they often see kids attempting to beat trains.
"We've seen kids trying to cross to get to school, the libraries, the grocery store," said Rene Logoria, "We've been trying
to get the council to put up gates near the guard rails, but as you can see nothing's been done."
Residents' complaints about the dangers at the spot go back at least to 2001, when they expressed their fears to city officials
in a meeting in January that year. Residents then worried that a child might be killed trying to cross the tracks illegally.
"I've noticed that ... at 3 p.m. kids of all ages run over the tracks or try to hop on the trains," said resident Bert
Four months ago, an elderly man crossing the tracks at the spot was struck and killed by a train. A similar incident killed
a male pedestrian about four years ago, city spokesman Bob Spencer said.
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