published Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Teenage girl struck by train in critical condition

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a train accident where two pedestrians were hit near Earle Yorton Field Friday, March 21, 2014 in Marysville, Calif.
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a train accident where two pedestrians were hit near Earle Yorton Field Friday, March 21, 2014 in Marysville, Calif.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — A California teenage girl was still in critical condition on Sunday after being struck by a freight train while walking to a school dance with her boyfriend, who was killed in the accident.

Gary Zavoral, a spokesman for Sutter Roseville Medical Center, confirmed 16-year-old Mickayla Friend's condition.

The accident Friday evening occurred near Marysville's only high school and a little league park where a game was being played.

Investigators told KCRA-TV that the teens were walking southbound on the tracks -- the same direction as the Union Pacific train.

They were scheduled to attend a Sadie Hawkins Day dance.

Witnesses say they heard the train engineer blow the horn but that the two kids didn't move out of the way in time.

The boy died at the scene, and Mickayla was airlifted to the hospital.

Marysville police Chief David Baker says investigators are looking into whether the pair was distracted by headphones or something else when the accident occurred.

Aaron Hunt, a spokesman for Union Pacific, said it takes more than a mile for a train to stop.

"Our hearts go out to the friends and family of the two individuals involved in the accident," Hunt told the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. "It is a stark reminder that railroad tracks are never a safe place to be."

Sandy Friend, Mickayla's mother, told KTXL-TV in Sacramento that she believes her daughter's boyfriend saved her life.

"She had the love of a young man. He just sacrificed himself to save my daughter," she said.

While the small Northern California town mourned, baseball games at the little league park resumed Sunday.

The game started with a moment of silence for the victims.

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