"She was always laughing. If you would see her at the lunch table, sitting with her friends, she's laughing and smiling," said Jonathan Eagan, the principal at Martinez Junior High School.
He is speaking about Jenna Betti, who was an 8th grade student at the Martinez, Cali. school. The community is still reeling from the death of Betti, who was just 14 years old. She was killed on Sunday at around 5 pm when she was accidentally run over by a train.
Betti and another teen, later identified to be her boyfriend, had been sitting together on the tracks when they observed an eastbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight train heading their way.
According to railway spokeswoman Lena Kent, the pair were seen getting off the track by the train's crew members. Then, suddenly, Betti returned to the train tracks for "some unknown reason".
What had happened was Betti accidentally dropped her cellphone. She went back onto the tracks to retrieve it, but wasn't able to get out of the train's path in time.
Dena Betti, Jenna's mother, wrote on a friend's Facebook page that it was likely her daughter "didn't judge the approach" of the train accurately. Betti assumed she had plenty of time to go back for her dropped phone. Dena Betti said that she was informed that trains tend to create a vacuum that "sucks you in", making escape impossible after a certain point.
— KTVU (@KTVU) March 3, 2014
"We are beyond devastated," said Dena Betti. "Thank you for all your love, support and prayers during this very difficult time."
Those who knew Jenna feel that she likely ran back for her phone out of fear that she would be scolded for having it run over. It is a heart-breaking scenario where someone so young misjudges the value a parent places on materials when compared to the safety of their child. Jenna had no way of knowing that a cellphone was not worth her life and sadly her family and friends will never be able to tell her.
From this sad situation, a lesson should be learned: Take this opportunity to tell your loved ones that at no point is a cellphone worth their life. A life is irreplaceable; a cellphone is not.
On Monday, classmates wore pink in Jenna Betti's memory and a vigil is planned for this evening.
A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday, March 4th at 6:30 in the MJHS commons to honor the life of Jenna Betti.
— Alhambra High School (@ahsdogs) March 4, 2014
Image via YouTube