Teen cyclist killed by VTA train was en route to singing performance

KTVU and Wires

SAN JOSE, Calif. —

A 14-year-old San Jose girl who died after being hit by a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light-rail train on Friday was on her way to a singing performance at her high school at the time of the accident, according to acrowdfunding site set up to help her family.

Danika Tyler Garcia died after a VTA light rail car struck her near the intersection of Stokes Street and Southwest Expressway in San Jose as she rode her bicycle at about 7:35 a.m. Friday, according to sheriff’s office Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup.

She was still alive when she was transported to a hospital, but she died there later of her injuries, Stenderup said.

Danika was a freshman at Del Mar High School in San Jose, where she was headed Friday morning, according to a message posted about her on the crowdfunding sitewww.donationto.com.

“She was rushing as to not be late, so that she could be there to perform for her friends and schoolmates,” reads a post on the website.

“A beautiful spirit. A beautiful soul. A beautiful voice,” the post continues. “The family will need lots of help and support during this tragic time. Expensive funeral arrangements, lost wages, and grief support will add up quickly.”

As of midday Monday, the site, which is seeking to raise funds to cover her funeral and other costs, had raised $2,360 with a stated goal of raising $10,000.

Danika’s friends had posted dozens of condolence messages on her page on the tribute website legacy.com as of this morning.

“I remember when we went to Horace Mann & we thought we were amazing,” one friend wrote. “My favorite memories with you were going to your birthday party & going to your house & having tons of fun.”

Another friend mentioned summer days of swimming and barbecuing. Del Mar Principal Jennifer Baldwin said in a message posted on the school’s website, “It is with great sadness that I share with you the loss of one of our Del Mar students. This student passed away Friday afternoon as a result of a tragic traffic accident Friday morning.”

Baldwin offered condolences to the family and said grief counseling will be available to students and staff this week.

Deputy Stenderup said the sheriff’s Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident.

VTA spokeswoman Colleen Valles said Danika was hit by a northbound train on the Mountain View-Winchester line. She said 40 passengers were on the train at the time of the accident.

The train has been impounded during the investigation into the accident, as is standard procedure, Valles said.

The collision occurred at a crossing where the train travels at street level. Valles said crossing arms were down, blocking car traffic, and warning lights on and bells ringing at the time of the accident.


source: http://www.ktvu.com/