Teen struck and killed by train was star athlete at high school in Everett

SILVANA, Wash. -- The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 17-year-old girl. They say she was on a trestle above the Stillaguamish River when a train hit and killed her.

Karlie Jensen, 16, says the beach in Silvana is a popular spot for teenagers in the spring and summer.

“I come here a lot, it's just the place to come on hot days to hang out.”

Jensen has seen a lot of people jump from the train trestle into the water. Even though she’s never done it, she didn’t think it was that dangerous.

“I never see trains come here that much. I know they do, but i never thought about it."

But Saturday afternoon, Jensen saw old Kristi Bartz, 17, and another girl go up to the trestle. A few minutes later, she heard a whistle.

“The train came and we were all yelling. All you could hear was their footsteps just sprinting,” she said. “Trains just can't stop, we all know that. It was still going pretty fast, there was no way it could have stopped. There's nothing anyone could have done.”

According to Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the train was going 40 mph when its crew hit the emergency brake. One of the girls was able to move out of the way, but the train hit and killed Bartz.

On Sunday, Jensen went to a prayer service for Bartz at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett.

“Her friends told me she was a track star, and she just broke three school records,” she said. “She was getting ready to go to college soon. Her friends just don't want to believe it yet.”

BNSF says the teens were in a no trespassing area, and this is the ninth death of a trespasser on a train track in Washington this year. They say they will be increasing patrols, to make sure there are no more accidents like this.

Jensen says she won’t be going anywhere near the tracks again.

“After today, I don't think I'll come back here. It's close to my house, but I don't want to. I can't not think about it if I'm here.”

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and BNSF says they are still investigating this accident.

Archbishop Murphy High School will hold a special prayer service Monday morning, and will have counselors and therapists on hand throughout the school day.