Students reflect on teens killed in train vs. car accident

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Students at local high schools are grieving after a train verse car accident killed two 17-year-olds early Friday morning. Emanuel Martinez and Yankiel Rodriguez had just started their senior year at Lincoln Southwest.

A memorial now sits at the crash site. Friends, family and students came and left the spot all day leaving flowers and other memorabilia.

10/11 spoke to many friends of Yankiel and Emanuel about the teens and who they were. Most of them did not want to be interviewed and expressed how difficult the news of the accident has been.

One Lincoln High Junior though, Joshua Lopez, knew Yankiel, and was willing to share about his friend.

Lopez said he was walking to his second period when the principal announced the names of the teens involved in the crash over the intercom.

"And then I just started crying right then and there," said Lopez.

The junior said he's known Yankiel since his freshman year, and that he had a goofy personality.

"How I would describe Yankiel is a free person. I think that's the best way I can put it. He kind of did his own thing and went with his own flow," said Lopez.

He said the day after the crash was very hard for him and many of his classmates, even teachers.

"It's just kind of hard to think about someone you know being here like one second and the next moment their gone. It's kind of a hard concept to grasp your mind around," said Lopez.

Lincoln Public Schools has a crisis team of counselors, psychiatrists, nurses and other staff able to help those who are struggling. The crisis team is at Lincoln Southwest where the two were going to school this year. They also are at Lincoln High where they both went last year.

"Often times at this point when the death has just occurred the students are experiencing shock. Maybe even numb in disbelief the event has even occurred," said Ursula Vernon-Hansen the crisis team's director.

The crisis team's job is to meet every students needs or provide them with enough resources so they can get back to a normal life.

"And so the most important thing that we want to do when we're present here is make sure that we are a clam presence. Something that we can provide to students staff and if they want to talk, that we are available," said Vernon-Hansen.

Vernon-Hansen said any LPS student can use the crisis team they just need to notify staff or school administration. Also, for parents who think their child may be struggling, they too can reach out to the crisis team for assistance.