Kristi Bartz, 17, was struck and killed by a freight train Saturday northwest of Marysville. Family described her as a top student and athlete, with plans to attend the University of British Columbia in the fall.
Kristi Bartz was one of those kids who just seemed naturally good at everything: She was a co-captain of her soccer team and broke numerous school records in track and field. She didn’t even like math but excelled nonetheless, tutoring classmates and taking Advanced Placement courses in calculus, her father said Sunday.
The popular, athletic 17-year-old was fatally struck by a freight train Saturday afternoon in Silvana, northwest of Marysville.
On Sunday, hundreds of people packed the bleachers at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett to mourn the fun-loving senior who planned to study business and English at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, B.C., family said.
“She was extraordinary,” Kristi’s dad, Manfred Bartz, said Sunday. “She was just one of those people who was just compassionate, compassionate to anybody and everybody. She was just a humble and loving and very well-loved person.”
The teen and a female companion were on a trestle about 20 feet above a slough around 3:10 p.m. when a BNSF Railway train approached, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said. The train crew sounded the whistle and applied the emergency brake.
One girl was able to jump to the side of the bridge, clear of the approaching train. But Kristi was struck.
The train, en route from Portland to Vancouver, B.C., was traveling about 40 mph, Melonas said.
The crew stopped the train and a crew member attempted to administer CPR to the injured girl, Melonas said.
A third person, a young male, had apparently been with the girls in the popular swimming area, but had jumped from the bridge into the water before the train approached.
“Our school is grieving at this time,” said Shannon McCann, a spokeswoman for Archbishop Murphy High School, a private Catholic prep school.
Kristi has not yet been officially identified by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.
Manfred Bartz said his daughter, the youngest of three girls, was one of 600 students chosen from a pool of 6,000 applicants to attend business school at UBC in the fall. She dreamed of traveling the world and wanted to work with impoverished people around the globe “and help bring them up,” Bartz said.
She recently broke her high school’s record for the 1-mile run by two seconds, and held the school record in the 800 meter and high jump, her father said. A co-captain of her school’s soccer team, Kristi also played select soccer with Washington Rush, he said.
“She never competed against anybody else — always herself and she always wanted to push her limits,” Bartz said. “She never complained. She just played the game and rolled with the bruises and punches.”
Though her given name was Kristiane, everyone called her Kristi, her father said.
“She really believed in God,” Bartz said, adding his daughter had a good head about her, got straight A’s and was the person her friends’ parents called to find out where their kids were.
Kristi lived with her father, mother Karen Bartz, and two sisters — Stefani Bartz, 23, and Michaela Bartz, 20 — in Snohomish.
“She really loved life. She loved the outdoors, she loved the water,” her father said.
Bartz declined to discuss details of the accident, saying the family is still waiting to learn exactly what happened.
Kristi’s death is the ninth on BNSF tracks in Washington this year, Melonas said.
In 2013 and 2014 combined, more than 30 people in the state were killed by trains.
“It’s a very tragic situation,” Melonas said. “This time of year, kids do get on the railroad tracks sometimes.”
Venturing onto railroad property is illegal, and BNSF will be monitoring tracks in the Puget Sound area more closely in the coming months, Melonas said.
Two other trains were also delayed by the accident. Traffic resumed about 7 p.m.