PICS: Beautiful Memorial for Martinez Train Accident Victim Jenna Betti

March 6, 2014 12:28 pm · 19 comments


Mourners in Martinez have created a touching memorial for the 14-year-old girl who was struck & killed by a train over the weekend.

Jenna Betti was hit around 5 p.m. Sunday on the railroad tracks near Old Orchard and Howe roads. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe train that struck her was heading from Richmond to Fresno, and had three crew members aboard at the time of the incident, a railway spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said Jenna and another person were on the tracks but moved away as the train approached. Jenna then returned to the tracks and was hit, she said.

According to a Facebook message from Jenna’s mother, Dena Betti, that was reposted on social media sites, Jenna was with her boyfriend on the tracks just before she was hit. Her mother wrote that Jenna apparently dropped her phone and was killed when she went back to grab it as the train approached.

Big thanks to Craig Cannon for the pictures!

RELATED STORY: Victim of Fatal Train Accident Identified as 14-year-old Martinez Junior High School Student

CVHS Class of '90 March 6, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Very classy. Prayers to the family of Jenna and her friends as well.

Naenae March 6, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Please parents remind your kids that all material goods are replaceable but they are not. I’ve been upset with my kids loosing or breaking cell. But bottom line is that it’s just money.

Ted K., SuperMax March 6, 2014 at 1:21 PM

A hard lesson for everyone to stay off the tracks.

average joe March 6, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Its nice but I think a better memorial would be to build a fence. There are several access points near where this happened that could be restricted to prevent this in the future… RIP little girl…

Me near the tragidy March 6, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Yesterday we were on our way somewhere and news camera’s were Right on the tracks????????? I am not kidding. And lease, stay away fro the tracks. The trains are blowing their horns in an area they normally do not, because people are for some reason going to the scene of this horrible incident , some to pay respects, place things, flowers, others for sick reasons I feel, for whatever reason, stay away please. And stay off the tracks camera crews., geeeze. And I am very sorry, this is a very sad situation, but no excuse or reason to go near the tracks and esp on the tracks. Esp. now…. Cal trans discourages roadside memorials for just this reason. it puts more lives in danger.

tam March 6, 2014 at 3:56 PM

I agree w. #5, I to live right by there and continue to see people in the tracks. They said a suction grabbed her, meaning it can HAPPEN AGAIN people! learn!

Maya Piñon March 6, 2014 at 4:13 PM

How sad, RIP Jenna. Your time on this earth was too short.

anon anon March 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM

No suction grabbed anyone – that’s putting fear out there. Keep a safe distance (off of railroad property) and you’ll not get hurt.
The railroad “spokesperson” probably works in an office all day and couldn’t tell the difference between a GE and EMD locomotive.
Posting flowers at the railroad sign is a good location, should have just posted stuff at the bus top where that new bench is.

Did you know March 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

On average 15,000 people are killed on railroad tracks each year in the US? There has been many in Martinez in my memory. I talked to a train operator about ten years ago and he told me about some of the reasons. One was people walking on the tracks with headphones on playing music too loud to hear the train horn. Other reasons. Cars trying to cross, suicides, other reasons. This was a tragic accident. But there has also been much said about the dangers, education on living near tracks, in Martinez a few years ago I read about a campaign to bring awareness to this. The train operator also said most turn their heads before they hit someone not to have to see it happen. I will not say more about what he told me, except most never work in a train engine again. From post traumatic problems, much like being a war. In short we have two tracks in Martinez, South where this happened and North downtown. I believe more will be done to educate people on the dangers. But like said before, there is little they can do. You are talking about miles of tracks, and impractical if not impossible to fence them. Ever been to Port Costa? That is a very dangerous crossing to go fishing or walk along the water. A bridge or tunnel was proposed. Martinez is considering a foot bridge over the tracks. Many event take place at the Marina and all have to cross actively used tracks. Trains present other dangers as well. From derailing to what they carry.. So we need to respect the danger and also educate everyone on the dangers of tracks and trains. Also crack down on trespassing. You are in fact trespassing when you walk on rr tracks, unless you are crossing at a crossing point I believe. Just remember it takes a loaded train a mile to stop sometimes. And they can go very fast. Stay away fro rr tracks. And I send all my prayers to this family and people who knew her. There really is no words you can say. But there is things you can do to prevent it from happening again, or lesson the chances. Lets work on that please. 15,000 people a year die from trains. It should not be that many. We can do more…. And please respect the family who may be reading these comments. They are suffering unimaginable pain right now. Nothing I said was meant to hurt them anymore, only bring awareness to the dangers of trains… I am sorry

Carroll March 6, 2014 at 5:45 PM

@Did you know

There are about 500 pedestrian rail deaths per year in the U.S., not 15,000.

Reality Slap March 6, 2014 at 6:28 PM

It is wonderful that people want to bring flowers to have a memorial. It is illegal and unsafe to place the memorial on the ground near the train tracks, for the very reason this beautiful girl is no longer here, no one should be on or near the tracks. Bring the flowers to the Junior High, to the Funeral Home, to her home, to any safe place. The tracks are not safe. Let Jenna Betti’s legacy be that no one is hurt or killed in Martinez again because they stayed away from train tracks.

well March 6, 2014 at 7:28 PM

I said 15000 deaths by trains. I mentioned different ways. Autos etc.

Anon March 6, 2014 at 7:32 PM

“A hard lesson for everyone to stay off the tracks.”

Its called trespassing–an illegal act

Ted K., SuperMax March 6, 2014 at 9:45 PM

@13 You must be Captain Obvious! Duh.

Carroll March 6, 2014 at 10:10 PM

There are nowhere near 15,000 train deaths in the U.S. per year. The average is more like 1,000 if you include pedestrians, autos, and train accidents. In India, there are many more train deaths, perhaps 15,000 per year.

Did you know I was wrong... March 7, 2014 at 4:22 AM

@ Carrol I stand corrected. however I am having trouble finding good data on this. You are right, that was In India. I apologues. But it the us est’s are between 500 and 1200 I just read, but leave out other causes, so why are the numbers to find? There are several ways trains kills people. people walking the tracks account for on average 500 as you say. But that is walking the tracks, but hanging out. Other ways. Or crossing tracks? Or cars crossing, suicides etc. So who knows. I would only guess the number would be around 2000. So I was wrong.. but there is no number as there is with auto road crashed and all cause, which they compile those numbers. Not form trains, or not that I can find anyway..

anon March 7, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Stop with the fear mongering. The railroad property is behind the sign.
Trains don’t just appear through a wormhole and they don’t jump off tracks and grab you 50 feet away and continue on their way.
I would say that 98% killed by trains were aware of the trains presence.
The two flowers on the right of way appear to be thrown, the ones on the sign are safe and the property from Howe Rd to that sign belong to who?

Craig Cannon March 7, 2014 at 10:57 PM

One Death is The Same as 500, 1500, 15,000. TERRIBLE. What Appears to be Wonerful Girl was Lost to a Preventable Accident Sunday. Shall We Not Cast Blame on Her, The Railroad, or Even Fate. How About Channeling all The Gossip, and Energy into Preventing Future Mistakes. The Love Shown at Her Tribute was Warm and Beautiful.

Pro Fi March 7, 2014 at 11:53 PM

@Did you know I was wrong… From the FRA Office of Safety Analysis Web Site. The purpose of this site is to make railroad safety information including accidents and incidents, inventory and highway-rail crossing data readily available to the public.

SELECTION: Railroad – All Railroads All Regions State – All States County – All Counties January To December, 2013

Number of fatal accidents/incidents 748 6.66%
Total fatalities: 784 Total nonfatal conditions: 8,296

Total accidents/incidents is the sum of train accidents, highway-rail incidents, and other incidents.
____________________________________________________________TOTAL TRAIN ACCIDENTS: 1,758
Number of fatal train accidents 6 0.34%
Total fatalities: 11 Total nonfatal conditions: 297
Collisions: 161 9.16%
Derailments: 1,251 71.16%
Other accidents: 346 19.68%

—————————Primary causes—————————
Human factors: 37.77% 664 Track defects: 544 30.94%
Equipment defects: 12.29% 216 Signal defects: 51 2.90%
Miscellaneous causes: 16.10% 283

Number of accidents on yard track: 952 54.15% of all train accidents.
Train accidents represent 15.65% of all reported events.
Number of train accidents involving passenger trains 64 3.64%
Number of train accidents that resulted in a release of hazardous material 18 1.02% of total
Number of persons evacuated 3,234 Number of rail cars releasing hazmat 77

A train accident is an event involving ontrack rail equipment that results in monetary damage to the equipment and track above a certain threshold. Lading, clearing costs, environmental damage is not included.
Incidents: 2,087 (not at crossings)
Total fatalities: 251 Total fatalities: 488 Total nonfatal conditions: 929 Total nonfatal conditions: 430
Number of fatal crossing incidents 228 10.92%

Public Crossings 129513 With gates 45,939 Other activated crossings 21,957 Number with passive warnings 61,617

Highway-rail and trespassing incidents account for 94.26% of all fatalities.
Highway-rail incidents represent 18.58% of all reported events.

A highway-rail incident is any impact between a rail and a highway user at a crossing site, regardless of severity.Includes motor vehicles and other highway/roadway/sidewalk users at both public and private crossings.
OTHER INCIDENTS: 7,388 Number of fatal other incidents 514 6.96% of other incidents
Other incidents account for: 65.77% of all accidents/incidents
Total fatalities: 522 10 Number to employees on duty. Trespassers 485
Total nonfatal conditions: 7,070 4,025 Number to employees on duty

Other incidents include events other then train accidents or crossing incidents, that caused a death or nonfatal condition
to any person. Most fatalities in this category are to trespassers. Other events include such activities as
getting on/off equipment. Doing maintenance work, throwing switches, setting handbrakes, stumbling, tripping,etc.

Total fatalities: 14 1.79% of all fatalities
Total nonfatal conditions: 4,185 50.45% of all nonfatal cases

Total passenger deaths 6. Total passengers injured 1507. Passenger cases include all circumstances,including getting off/on standing trains, stumbling aboard trains, assaults, train accidents, crossing incidents, etc.

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