Teen About To Graduate High School Killed By Train

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Rafael Romo
Reporting

(CBS) STEGER, Ill. Graduation will be bittersweet at a suburban high school Wednesday night after a graduating senior was killed in a train accident.

CBS 2's Rafael Romo reports the victim was hit while riding home from getting her hair done for graduation.

Laura Aboagyi remembers with sorrow the friend who was always there for her when she needed help in school.

"She had a bright future. She was always joyful in school. She was smart. She was a classic; somebody we will always remember," Laura said.

Marielle Anderson, 19, died Tuesday after she was hit by a freight train in Steger while riding her bicycle.

Anderson was looking straight ahead when it happened and was riding on the sidewalk crossing the tracks when the northbound Union Pacific Railroad freight train, going about 45 mph, struck her on her left side at 4:39 p.m., police said.

The accident was witnessed by two police officers who happened to be by the crossing at 34th Street and Steger Road.

"We had two police officers sitting in a car on the other side of the train, and they observed her coming alongside, parallel to the trains. When she got to the tracks, she cut across in front of the train," said Steger Police Chief Richard Stultz.

When the accident happened, the gates were down, blocking cars from entering the tracks, but there were no gates for the sidewalk, said Johnston.

The train engineer sounded his horn, but could not stop in time, Stultz said. When asked further about the cause of the accident, Stultz could only speculate on information that had been learned from the family.

"They said she usually had an mp3 player, but we didnít find one," he said. But police are investigating if earphones might have played a part in Andersonís not having heard the train coming.

Anderson, of West 37th Street in Steger, was taken to Saint James Hospital and Health Centers in Olympia Fields, where she was pronounced dead at 5:08 p.m. Tuesday, according to the medical examiner's office.

On Wednesday morning, Bloom Trail High School Principal Ron Ray asked students for a moment of silence.

"It is with deep sadness that I inform you of our unfortunate tragedy yesterday," Ray said, following his announcement with a moment of silence.

"She was just really involved in a lot of after-school activities and a lot of stuff, you know, during the school year - not just this year, but since high school began for us," said friend Britney Green.

Marielle would have graduated Wednesday night.

"At some point during the commencement exercises we are going to have a moment of silent reflection because we lost Marielle yesterday," Ray said.

Anderson was a National Honor Society student, and her school community was mourning her loss as they prepared to graduate.

CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman also contributed to this report.

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Reprinted with permission from the CBS 2 News, Chicago