A 14-year-old soccer star from California was struck and killed by a train after she tried to pick up her cellphone, which she had dropped onto the tracks, according to reports. Jenna Betti seemed like your typical young teen, hanging out with her boyfriend and shooting the breeze by the train tracks in her town. When they spotted the freight train approaching, both of them got off the tracks. But, according to Jenna's mom, the eighth grader at Martinez Junior High School realized she had dropped her cellphone on the tracks and went back to retrieve it. Three train operators said they saw the young girl but weren't able to stop the train in time.

Jenna's devastated mother is trying to make sense of this heartbreaking tragedy. She has posted on her daughter's Facebook page that Jenna didn't judge the approach of the train and that the family was told it can create a "vacuum" that sucks you in. She also wrote that she'll never understand why Jenna made such a horrible decision.

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The incredibly frightening thing about this is that Jenna did what so many of us -- or what many of our children -- might do. How often do we drop our phones or other items that are precious to us and not think twice about retrieving them because, in that moment, we only have their value in mind? I'm sure the teen figured she could quickly grab her phone and get out of danger before the train approached. It is not easy to gauge a moving train's distance when you are that close to one.

Family and friends have left flowers in Jenna's memory beside the train tracks. Her classmates, who describe her as "happy" and always smiling, wore pink -- her favorite color -- to commemorate the teen this week. Our hearts go out to Jenna's family and loved ones. I can't imagine what her parents are going through and my heart breaks for them.

Do you worry about your kids making dangerous, impulsive decisions like this?

 

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