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Local

Friends, Family Hold Vigil For San Jose Teen Killed By VTA Train

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VTA light rail

A VTA light-rail train. (Santa Clara VTA)

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KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Friends and family held a vigil on Saturday near the near the light-rail tracks in San Jose where 14-year-old Danika Tyler Garcia was killed when she was struck by a train while riding her bicycle to school on Friday.

Garcia, a freshman at Del Mar High School, was riding her bicycle across the intersection of Stokes Street and Southwest Expressway at about 7:35 a.m. Friday when she struck by northbound VTA train.

She was on her way to a singing performance at her high school at the time of the accident, according to a crowdfunding site set up to help her family.

Garcia was rushed to the hospital but died later on Friday.

“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 Garcia’s 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.

“There are safety devices all in place, all working in proper order. There is always safety that needs to be observed in and around any method of transportation.”

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.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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