Hundreds Attend Funeral for Teen Killed by Train in Martinez

March 7, 2014 15:53 pm · 16 comments


Dressed in pink and black, hundreds of people packed a Pleasant Hill church this morning to remember a 14-year-old girl who was tragically struck and killed by a train in Martinez earlier this week.

Hundreds of friends, Martinez Junior High School classmates and family members of Jenna Betti found a spot wherever they could inside the Christ the King Chuch this morning.

Colorful pink and white bouquets and wreaths decorated the church, as well as posters covered with photos of the teen scrawled with messages from her friends.

The Rev. Brian Joyce told mourners at today’s funeral that while the eighth-grader’s death was “too soon and too tragic,” she made a lasting impact on her family, friends and community during her short life.

“When she walked into a room, she lit up that room,” Joyce said. “She made a difference in the life of so many in this room and we won’t forget that.”

Jenna was struck around 5 p.m. Sunday by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train on the railroad tracks near Howe and Old Orchard Roads, according to police.

Her mother, Dena Betti, wrote in a Facebook message reposted on other social media sites that Jenna was on the tracks with her boyfriend before the collision.

“Why they made such a horrible decision we’ll never know,” she wrote. “The horn blew to alert them. He jumped south side and she cleared north side. She dropped her phone and went back to retrieve it. She didn’t judge the approach and the train creates a vacuum we were told and it sucks you in.”

Martinez Unified School District Superintendent Rami Muth said Jenna played club soccer and was popular, smart and beautiful.

Dena Betti is heavily involved with the school district and serves on the PTA, said Scott Sullivan, a former PTA president and family friend.

Sullivan described Jenna as “a very spirited” girl and recalled how she would jump on stage and grab the microphone during PTA meetings when she was younger.

Several school events have been postponed due to the teen’s death and grief counselors have been made available to students.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil for Jenna at the middle school on Tuesday evening. At today’s memorial, attendees smiled, sniffled and wiped away tears as photos of Jenna throughout her life filled two large projector screens.

Mourners even heard from Jenna herself in a short video montage entitled “My Life in 90 Seconds” that she narrated. In the video, she commented on photos of herself with friends and family, including her two younger sisters.

“Me and my sister have always been really close,” she said. Outside the church following today’s service, groups of people exchanged hugs and memories about the teen.

Grumpy Old Man March 7, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Rest In Peace Baby Girl.

StoneyGRL March 7, 2014 at 4:27 PM

RIP Jenna … toughts and prayers to Jenna’s family and friends. 🙁

Caring March 7, 2014 at 4:47 PM

So very sorry for your loss,, my thoughs and pray are with you!! May God fill your heart,, and get you thru this time!! Sending you hugs ,, even tho I don’t know you !!

Landana March 7, 2014 at 6:43 PM

I feel bad for the family, but I really hope that people are taking the time and making sure that the young man that was with her is getting the help he needs. He is still has his life and he should not be treated like he does not matter because of it. This was something that no one should ever have to see and i’m sure it will haunt him for the rest of his life.
I just hope that when people are sending their prayers for her family that they send one for the young man who forever changed.

Shasta Daisy March 7, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Prayers and sympathy for her family, friends and boyfriend. He is suffering, too.

God be with ALL that knew this young angel.

TFF March 7, 2014 at 8:50 PM

@ Landana – amen … I hope so, too.

Kelly Anne March 7, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Well said Landana.well said.

??? March 7, 2014 at 9:49 PM

I didn’t know her but I can’t read this without crying
My eyeballs out 4 her & everybody that loves her xoxo

Yes, Landana #4 March 7, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Good point. Well said. He and his family are hurting tremendously too I’m sure. Bless them all.

Respect to Landana March 7, 2014 at 10:45 PM

Thank you, Landana for your kind and considerate words. I’m sure the memory of that horrible moment haunts him. We all need to keep him in our prayers as well. I hope he gets the help he needs to get him through this awful time. Reast peacefully beautiful girl. Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing you, you clearly touched so many lives and you will be missed forever. Much love and strength to all involved.

Ven Exeter March 8, 2014 at 12:28 PM

R.I.P. young one. Horrible reminder of how fleeting life can be. Always remember to show and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

lizzie March 8, 2014 at 7:51 PM

R.I.P. Such a beautiful picture of you.

Khloe March 8, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Christ The King Church

casey March 8, 2014 at 10:50 PM

I’ve been crying all week about this. For everyone involved, but especially the family. It’s heartening to see all the love and concern in the community. Most people really care about each other when the going gets tough.

claycordian March 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Please pray for the train crew, as well as her family and friends. The people on that crew are the forgotten ones in this tragedy. This will haunt them forever. They may not be able to work on a locomotive ever again.

LazyK March 9, 2014 at 7:44 PM

I pray every day for her family. No parent should ever have to go through that….ever.

I also pray for the paramedics, fire and police officers that had to respond to the call.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: