FORT WORTH –– The family of a 16-year-old hit and killed by a train near Sycamore School Road on Sunday afternoon has longtime ties to Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Alejandro Garnica was one of five teens that tried to cross the tracks around a stopped train when another train came barreling by on a parallel track.
The first four teens barely made it across in time. Garnica didn't.
"It's tough ... just chaotic," said Philip Wilson, the teen's stepfather who said he raised Garnica as his own son. "He was a good kid, so popular."
Garnica was a sophomore at Crowley High School. Grief counselors were on hand Monday.
For Wilson, the loss is especially tough: The Union Pacific engineer has worked the very route where the accident happened.
He even knows the crew that was on board the freight train.
"We're like a big family. It's something you never forget," he said.
On Monday, Fort Worth police and Union Pacific investigators continue to try and piece together what happened.
One of the other teens involved, Marktevin Bacy, told News 8 they were trying to get to a Dollar General store on the other side of the tracks.
Wilson said he hopes if any good comes from the accident, it is that the public realizes rail tracks are never a safe idea for a shortcut. Union Pacific stressed again on Monday it is only OK to cross at designated locations. Even then, one needs to be careful.
A memorial fund has been set up under Alejandro Garnica's name. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.
The railroad company said it is looking to help the family in any way possible.