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Willcox teen killed playing "chicken" with train

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jul 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 01:49:30-04

A 15-year-old girl is dead after being struck by a train near Railroad Park in Willcox Friday night.

Willcox Police Chief Jose Rios says that Mariah Contreras was with two other teens. Police say Contreras was unable to get out of the way then the train struck and killed her.

According to the Range News, Contreras would have been an incoming freshman at Willcox High School. 

Rios says he wants to remind people to never play on the train tracks, and stay as far away from the tracks as possible.

The Willcox Police Department is hoping to work with the Union Pacific Railroad to teach kids in local schools about railroad safety.

Justin E. Jacobs, spokesman for Union Pacific released the following statement:

"...around 12 a.m., an eastbound Union Pacific locomotive struck a juvenile female who sustained fatale injuries along the Lordsburg Subdivision in Willcox, Arizona. No others injuries were reported and the cause of the incident is under investigation.
 
Our thoughts are with the family and friends during this difficult time. 
 
The safety message here is that pedestrians, and everyone, need to be very aware of the hazards associated with trains and never attempt to cross the tracks anywhere other than a designated crossing when signs and signals permit.
 
Our locomotive engineer and conductor were immediately put in touch with peer counselors who are also locomotive engineers and conductors as part of our 'Peer Support' program."
 
Jacobs says up to 40 trains might pass through the area on any given day. 
 
A "GoFundMe" account has been set up for Contreras funeral expenses which can be found here. 
 
A second "GoFundMe" was set up by her family which can be found here.
 
People that know Contreras says she was friendly, outgoing and had an infectious smile. She often worked out at Papa's Old School Gym. Owner Matt Nuzzi says 
 
"She's just a nice young lady, a good personality, friendly," Nuzzi said. "She seemed like she was going down the right path, and it's just tragic when this type of thing happens."
 
Nuzzi says his goal has always been to help the kids of Willcox, so this Thursday they are holding a fundraiser for Contreras' family to help with funeral costs. The community is welcome to go to the gym at 6:30 p.m. It is located 
 
The gym is a non-profit and kids can attend boxing classes for free.