14-year-old struck by VTA train in San Jose fighting for her life

The family of a teenage San Jose girl hit and critically injured by a VTA light rail train on Wednesday is asking for the public’s help determining how the accident happened.

Family members say Michelle Espinoza is an effervescent 14-year-old with an infectious personality. She remains at Valley Medical Center where she is fighting for her life. 

“It’s hard. We can’t believe this happened. We wanna know how it happened,” said Liliana Rosas, the girl’s aunt.

Rosas and other family members sat outside the hospital Friday morning, trying to make sense of it all. 

Espinoza clings to life in critical condition, with a fractured skull, swelling of the brain, broken ribs and clavicle, and other injuries.

Late Wednesday morning, Espinoza was riding her bike near Southwest Expressway and Stokes Street. She was hit by a VTA light rail train as it made its way through the intersection.

“All we know is that we’re thankful she’s alive and she’s fighting. She’s very strong,” said Eliana Espinoza, Michelle’s older sister.

San Jose police say the teen was riding her bike east on Stokes Street and went around the crossing barriers, which were functioning. She peddled across the tracks, but there’s no explanation as to how or why she was hit by the southbound train. VTA officials stress being situationally aware when near or using their system.

“Often times, you may not see or hear a bus coming. So it’s important you look both directions," said Holly Perez, a VTA spokeswoman. "Remove the distractions like earbuds, and really follow the directional signs. Whether it’s lights, directional signs or crossing gates."

After Espinoza was struck, family member say a Good Samaritan pulled her off the tracks and administered CPR. 

In the family's search for answers to the accident, they want to personally thank the stranger who may have helped save a 14-year-old’s life.

“We would love for the person who helped her to come forward. And we would like to meet them, and thank them and just give them a big hug,” said Eliana Espinoza.

The Espinoza family set up a “GoFundMe” page for Michelle, to help with costs associated with her medical bills. To donate click here.