ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN) — The death of a 16-year-old who was hit and killed by a train in Albany on Saturday has been ruled a suicide.
The Linn County Sherriff’s Office 911 Dispatch Center said they received a call from a Union Pacific Railroad employee around 11:10 p.m. who reported that a person was walking on the railroad tracks in an unlit area. The employee went on to say that the person was struck by a southbound freight train, traveling approximately 40 miles per hour.
The victim was identified as Sara-Tessa Raechelle Lytle, from Albany. Emergency Personnel from the Tangent Fire Department and Linn County deputies located her body near the tracks around 11: 30 p.m.
Lytle was a student at West Albany High School. The school district said grief counseling will be in place for students returning to school on Monday.
Friends and family said they were celebrating her sixteenth birthday and did not even notice that she was gone.
“We were completely unaware until police contacted us that anything had happened,” said Meghan Ostler, a family friend. “It’s difficult for all of us. She was taken extremely too soon and too soon to tell. The ramifications just yet really haven’t hit all of us yet.”
People close to Lytle described her as a “beautiful, kind spirit.”
“She was bright and smart and artistic. And her mom and her family were her whole world,” said Ostler.
A memorial fund was set up for Lytle’s family on Monday. Anyone who would like to assist the family can send money donations to the following address:
Sara Lytle Memorial Fund
Red Canoe Credit Union
PO Box 3767
Albany, OR 97321