Friend of teen killed by train recalls moments before accident during vigil

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Eryc Shelby's friend says they didn't know which way the train was coming but could hear the rails screeching.

A teenager who narrowly escaped an oncoming train said his friend, who was struck and killed by the train, didn't know which way the train was coming.

"We heard it from the start. He thought it was coming from this way. I thought it was coming from this way," said the teen, who we can not identify because of his age.

The teenager spoke about the accident during a prayer vigil at the spot where Eryc Shelby, 16, died.

"He was trying to jump right here. This way. And then, as I jumped, I looked back his body was carried all this way. He hit this pole and fell right here," he said.

It's not clear if the teens were going to school Wednesday morning. Parents and students say people cross the railroad bridge at White Oak Bayou as a shortcut to Waltrip High School.

"Instead of going all the way around, they rather take the shortcut but they don't see the danger that the shortcut is," said mom Sofia Morales. "I feel real bad. And I feel real bad for the mom, but these kids walk here everyday."

Morales brought her daughter to the vigil Thursday night to show her a lesson in how dangerous it is to cross the bridge.

"The trains came every morning. I knew when they come," said Tahiji Johnson, who has used the bridge before to get to school and knows the danger. "He was a good student. He was like very friendly. Everyone knew him. He was a good friend to everybody."

Morales and Johnson say they want the city to build a pedestrian bridge to give students a safer way to cross White Oak Bayou.
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