Family and friends of a San Jose girl killed by a VTA light rail train are trying to prevent another deadly accident on the tracks as they prepare to pay their final respects.
Danika Garcia was killed when a train struck her last week as she made her way to school, Del Mar High, where a memorial of flowers and signs continues to grow.
Linda Ruiz, Danika's grandmother, told NBC Bay Area this has been the hardest week of her life, but she said seeing Danika's friends leave a memorial for her comforts her.
Ruiz said it is important for to know how her granddaughter died.
“We were just really surprised how fast those trains do go when you're standing out on the sidewalk,” Ruiz said. “It being that close to a school, it's scary that this goes on every day, that these kids cross every day.”
Fourteen-year-old Danika was on her bike, going to school, when a VTA train hit her in the intersection of Stokes Street and Southwest Expressway.
The family is still waiting for an official report from the sheriff's department.
“The importance in knowing what happened is that it doesn't happen again,” Ruiz said. “
A huge memorial with messages from fellow classmates and friends is setup just feet from the tracks. It lets Danika's family know how much she was loved.
“It brought us comfort,” Ruiz said. “It brought her mother and her father and all of us so much comfort.”
Also comforting Ruiz is her granddaughter's art.
Ruiz said her granddaughter was a gifted illustrator and singer.
“She took a piece of us with her,” Ruiz said. “But she also left a piece. She won't be gone. She'll be here.”
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Willow Glen Funeral Home at 1039 Lincoln Ave. in San Jose. A reception will follow the service at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall across the street.
An online fundraising website has been set up to raise money to go toward funeral and memorial services.