Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

On the Right Track.(West Side Journal)

Byline: Elaine D. Briseno Journal Staff Writer

Six Rio Rancho Mid-High students start a campaign to make a railroad crossing safer

When a train took the life of their friend, a group of Rio Rancho Mid-High students let their grief fuel a campaign to prevent others from meeting the same fate.

On March 21, driver Jacob Moya, 15, and his passenger Justin Vigil, 13, were traveling in a Geo Tracker at approximately 3:45 p.m. just off N.M. 313 on Sandia Pueblo when the southbound Amtrak train struck the SUV.

The teens were crossing the tracks at the intersection of North Farm Road, a private thoroughfare. They were driving to a ranch Vigil's grandfather leased from Sandia Pueblo to help care for some cattle.

The crossing, which a sign says is owned by the railroad company, has no crossing guard or signals to warn drivers of an oncoming train. It does have stop signs in both directions.

There have been several train-related deaths on the tracks stretching from Bernalillo to Alameda in recent years.

In 1996, two adults and a 9-year-old died at the same crossing after an Amtrak train smashed into their pickup.

Now, Ravae Tenorio, Hanna James, Cynthia Hinojo and Zack Westerfield, all 15, and 14-year-olds Monique Sanchez and Jeremy Richter are attempting to have signals and/or a crossing guard installed at the crossing in honor of Moya. …

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