Friends and family remembered 14-year-old Martinez High School Student Jenna Betti during a vigil Tuesday night as a girl who warmed people with her laugh and was always smiling.
Jenna was killed Sunday in Martinez, Calif., when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train struck her, San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO reported. A spokeswoman for the railway said Jenna and another person were on the tracks but moved when they saw the train heading toward them. But Jenna returned to the tracks and was struck.
CBS San Francisco reported that Jenna was trying to retrieve her cell phone, which fell onto the tracks, when she was killed.
Family and friends paid tribute to the high school junior Tuesday night, where family, friends and school staff lit candles and cried, the Contra Costa Times reported. Those who knew Jenna said she was a star on the soccer field and was quick to make friends.
"I love her and I always will," Jenna’s sister, Julia Betti, told the paper. "Now she is in a better place, but she is always in our hearts."
Others questioned Jenna’s death. "Why did this have to happen? And why to Jenna? Why did she have to leave us?" asked a friend who did not want to be named.
A girl who didn’t give her name said Jenna “was everybody’s best friend.”
“I never once heard someone say they didn’t like Jenna,” she said.
Martinez High School Principal Jonathan Eagan said Jenna lit up a room with her smile.
"She was always laughing. If you would see her at the lunch table, sitting with her friends, she's laughing and smiling," he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “In class, she was a good student, but she also had a smile and was kind of the life of the party, in a very positive way, and she was also a phenomenal athlete."
Another friend, 13-year-old Alyssa Bielecki, said Jenna was always in good spirits.
“She always smiled. I never saw her down. She made everything better,” Alyssa said. “She always looked at the bright side of stuff. She was always there for everyone."