School, Neighborhood Shocked by Deadly Light Rail Accident

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RANCHO CORDOVA-

One day after a teenager died after being hit by a light rail train, classmates, friends and family crowded a memorial on the train tracks near Folsom Boulevard and Coloma Road.

A Regional Transit spokesperson told FOX40 that surveillance video shows 15-year-old Mariah Burgess walking to the crosswalk, then running towards the oncoming train.

After school got out Friday, classmates reflected on a somber day at Cordova High School, where students wore black as they grieved for a well-liked freshman, killed in a tragic accident.

"Everyone was thinking the same thing she was just really young and everyone was just mourning today," classmate Brianna Nicol-Douchet.

Friends say the accident happened as Burgess was walking home from school with some friends and siblings, crossing Folsom Boulevard and then the tracks.

The warning lights the bells, the horns, Weren't enough friends said. Burgess was said to be wearing headphones when she was struck.

Now, some neighbors feel more should be done to keep pedestrians safe at this crosswalk that many residents use everyday.

"If they had guard rails just like they do in regular streets, it could be prevented and if they slow down right here," neighbor, Darnell Fraley said.

Regional Transit says the train was going 35 miles per hour, and that the conductor used the breaks and sounded the horn.

As RT investigates the accident,  Cordova High School is helping students grieve.

"We've set up the library as a grief counseling center so we have several school psychologists and other support staff, Sacramento Sheriffs Chaplain," said Daniel Thigpen, spokesperson for the Folsom-Cordova school district.

RT says the crosswalk was created in 2004 by request of neighbors. They say this was the first accident at the location.