FORT WORTH -- Alejandro Garnica, 16, lived about a mile-and-a-half north of where he was killed by a train Sunday afternoon.
But for his stepfather, the expression "close to home" has an additional painful meaning.
Philip Wilson works for Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the train that hit Alejandro.
"I happen to be a locomotive engineer. That's my job down there, literally," he said Tuesday. "This is all my back yard."
Alejandro was killed shortly after 2:30 p.m. in the 700 block of Sycamore School Road near Hallmark Park in southwest Fort Worth.
He was among five teenaged boys who were headed to a neighborhood store when they walked between the cars of a parked train, police reported. Then they ran across another set of tracks in front of a moving train.
The other boys were not hurt, but Alejandro was run over and pronounced dead at the scene.
Wilson said his stepson was "a great kid, a smart kid and he loved everybody."
Alejandro was a sophomore at Crowley High School, where grief counselors visited Monday and Tuesday.
"He was a normal 16-year-old," Wilson said. "But I couldn't impress on him how fragile life is. Kids today -- they think everything is an illusion with these [video games]. They think they're invincible.
"I'd be the first to start blaming the railroad if I knew they were at fault. But this was just youth making bad decisions."
During his career, Wilson said, he has seen things similar to what happened to Alejandro.
"On the train crew, you witness stuff, and it stays with you," he said. "Believe me it does. And for it to happen to my own family ... is unbelievable.
"I certainly hope something good comes out of this. There are so many things to talk about."
But, he said, the most basic rules of rail safety are "stop, look and listen, and always cross at the crossing."
"And don't try to beat the train," he said. "A coal train can be 10,000 tons, and there is no game to it -- you get hit by that, and it will tear you apart."
Funeral arrangements were pending at Laurel Land Funeral Home in Fort Worth, Wilson said. A fund has been set up to help cover the costs, he said. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch in the name of Alejandro Garnica.
Bill Miller, 817-390-7684