The family of the 13-year-old girl hit and killed by a train over the weekend are hoping their loss can save others. They want everyone to know how important it is to be cautious around train tracks.
"She was the kindest girl I ever met," Madison Simpson speaking of her step-sister 13-year-old Tanley Yacos.
Pictures she gave us show the love and memories the family shared. Now they are warning others about being safe around train tracks. Hays CISD is doing the same.
"Many of the students have to cross the railroad track to get to school. So there was a concern this afternoon about having to go back over that railroad track in Buda. We were there this afternoon when school was released," says Charlotte Winkelmann, director of guidance and counseling, Hays CISD.
Early Saturday morning Buda Police responded to the train tracks between the South Loop 4 and Houston Street railroad crossings. City officials say Tanley and her friend were having a sleepover when they sneaked out of the house.
The pair were reportedly walking along the train tracks when an oncoming train engineer spotted them and blew the horn. It is unclear what happened at that point, but Tanley was hit and killed.
Her family says she was actually three-feet away from the tracks but the force of the train sucked her in. The school district is hoping to go over the safety measures when it comes to railroad crossings.
"Maybe bringing in Union Pacific, or whomever, to come in an elementary school to talk about train safety. When the arms are down, we don't walk around the arms and you don't get too close. Be very careful when you're around trains. They're dangerous and we forget that," says Winkelmann.
Monday was the first day back at Dahlstrom Middle School after the death of Tanley. There were about 12 counselors providing grief support to friends and faculty. She was in the district for a year but left a great impact.
"She was just a breath of fresh air for all of the kids and they really talked about that a lot today," says Winkelmann.
Tanley's family sent us a statement saying:
The ones we love are never gone, they will forever live within our hearts. Tanley will be deeply missed but will never be forgotten.
Hays CISD has suffered many losses this year, this is the fifth current student to die, along with two recent grads and most recently the varsity baseball coach passed away as well. Counselors will be throughout several of the schools this week. They will be there as long as needed.
If you would like to help the family with funeral costs: