BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — The death of a Buda teenager who was struck and killed by a train last month is being classified as accidental.
On Monday, the Buda Police Department said it finished its part of the investigation into the death of 13-year-old Tanley Yacos. While her death is now considered an accident, an official cause of death will not be listed until after the inquest is complete and toxicology results are pending.
Tanley’s mother, Alice Roe, says she learned of her daughter’s death from a police officer.
“I said, ‘no, no it can’t be true,’ and he said ‘ma’am I’m sorry it is,'” Roe recalls the moment tearfully.
Roe says police told her Tanley was walking next to the tracks when she was hit. Roe believes Tanley didn’t realize how close she was to the train. Union Pacific says trains are three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
“The train is much wider than the tracks and I just don’t think Tanley knew that,” says Roe.
Police say Tanley was having a sleepover at her house on March 26 when she snuck out of the home with a friend. Roe says the girls were going to meet up with Tanley’s friend’s boyfriend.
The train was traveling at 47 mph during the time of the incident. The speed limit for trains in the area is 60 mph. Tanley’s family wants to know why the speed limit is 60 mph for trains, when cars have a much lower speed limit of 35 mph through town.
Roe and Tanley’s step-dad also want to make sure people know walking on Union Pacific railroad property is illegal. However, the city does not have its own ordinance making it illegal.
“I would like warning signs posted, I would like ‘no trespassing’ signs posted,” says Roe.
Especially in a small town where walking the tracks is common. Roe and her husband say they didn’t know it was illegal to walk alongside the tracks until Tanley’s death.
Tanley’s parents are meeting with Union Pacific on Tuesday to discuss putting warning signs by the tracks. They’re also working with the school district to implement some sort of train safety program in Buda.
Union Pacific says they are committed to preventing these types of accidents.They currently run a safety campaign called “Your Life is Worth the Wait.” It reminds people never to drive or run around gates or crossing arms; it’s illegal and deadly.
The campaign also reminds people how easy it is to get trapped on the tracks. And it says you should always expect a train because freight trains do not follow set schedules.