About 50 classmates and friends came together before school started to attend a vigil for a student struck and killed by a train on Thursday.
Family members identified the victim as 15-year-old Jonathan Martinez, a sophomore at South Hills High School in Fort Worth.
Holding posters saying “RIP Jonathan” and “We’ll miss you forever, Jonathan," attendees brought flowers, candles, and blue stuffed animals to the steps of South Hills.
They also sprinkled the sidewalk with blue glitter and all of the students wore blue shirts---in honor of Jonathan Martinez’ favorite color.
Martinez’ parents and his 10-year-old brother attended the vigil to thank his friends for their support and love.
Classmates say cutting through the railroad tracks is very common because it’s an easy shortcut for those who have to walk to school.
“I have walked there,” said sophomore classmate Kaleb Barnes. “I try and walk on the side and not on the rails. Other people do. It’d be nice to have a sidewalk to alleviate that from happening.”
After this tragedy, Barnes said schoolmates will be more careful about how they get to school.
“After this, I promise this is not going to happen again. People will be a lot more careful.”
Martinez’ stepfather Johnny Acevedo said this was a “freak tragedy” and said he was always concerned about Martinez cutting through the railroad tracks, but didn’t think a quick shortcut would turn deadly.
“When I spoke to him I told him to be careful, but I know why he did it because otherwise he’d have to go all the way around. From where we stay at, all you have to do is jump over the railroad tracks. That’s it, just jump over the tracks and you’re on McCart, and you can take that right to the school. From my understanding that’s what he did all the time. Yeah, I was concerned about it, because it’s dangerous. But a little shortcut like that, you never think they’re going to walk down the railroad tracks and never look back”
Acevedo said he doesn’t understand why Martinez didn’t feel the vibrations of the oncoming train and move away, even if he had headphones on. BNSF said the train was equipped with a video camera and the investigation continues.
“He was a real good kid, real smart kid. Top 10 in school. Never gave us problems, you know,” Acevedo said.
"I didn’t sleep at all last night. I was trying to grasp that he’s not with us in this world anymore,” said Sabrina Erakovich, Martinez' girlfriend who is also a sophomore at South Hills.
"He was my everything, he was my world. He was a great friend,” she added. “He made everyone smile and laugh.”
Martinez is survived by his parents and two brothers, ages 10 and two.