GERVAIS, Ore. (AP) - A sheriff's officer says a 13-year-old Gervais, Ore., boy was struck and killed by an Amtrak train.
Marion County sheriff's Sgt. Chris Baldridge said Diego Rodriguez was killed Tuesday about 7 p.m. as he walked with another boy along a double set of railroad tracks between Woodburn and Gervais. The other boy, 14, was not injured.
Students in the Gervais School District were shocked to hear about the accident Wednesday.
Rodriguez was a basketball player in the 8th grade who took classes at Douglas Avenue Alternative High School in Gervais. Friends said he loved Friday night football games and was an outgoing and good kid.
"All teachers were standing by the door kind of assessing right off the bat whether each student was OK or not," said superintendent Rick Hensel. "There was not a lot of students that were OK. This wasn't just tears. This was sobbing students, and a lot of them."
Baldridge says deputies think the boys saw the train coming from the north but didn't clear the tracks completely, believing the train was traveling on the track adjacent to the one they were on.
The sheriff's spokesman says an engineer on the train traveling from Seattle to Eugene saw a shadow on the tracks and began sounding the horn. When the engineer saw it was a person, he began emergency braking.
The 14-car train carried 65 passengers. Baldridge said he did not know the train's speed.
Gervais High student Yhaaira Naranjo said the accident is a horrible lesson to other kids who frequent the shortcut across the tracks.
"People shouldn't walk on the railroads, and if they want to walk through there, they should stand out of the railroad tracks and be cautious," Naranjo said.